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    • Join Date: Feb 2008
    • Posts: 213
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    #1

    without literally driving him back home in tears

    Dear Teacher,

    They made him as uncomfortable as possible without literally driving him back home in tears
    1. literally =almost?

    2. Does above sentence mean they drove him back or not? How to understand " without" here?

    Thanks in advance!


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,448
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    #2

    Re: without literally driving him back home in tears

    "without in fact/actually "

    I think we need more context to know if they really drove him home in a vehicle or forced him to go.

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • Scotland
      • Current Location:
      • Thailand

    • Join Date: Nov 2007
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    #3

    Re: without literally driving him back home in tears

    Many English expressions have a meaning that is slightly different from what the words say. For example if someone is "sent to Coventry" it means that no-one speaks to them. If we took the literal meaning of a sentence, that is the exact meaning of the words then we would indeed have told the person to go to Coventry.

    So the sentence here means that they were very nasty to him but not quite enough to make hime cry and go home.


    • Join Date: Feb 2008
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    #4

    Re: without literally driving him back home in tears

    Anglika & Jamiep,

    Thanks for your replies. I am sorry I can not offer more context because I have closed website I was browsing and I forget where it is now. I will remember to provide you teachers with more info. along with my other questions next time.

    Please don't send me to Coventry.

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