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  1. suprunp's Avatar
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    #1

    If life has treated a man like a brigand

    343.
    If life has treated a man like a brigand, and has taken from him all it could in the way of honours, friends, adherents, health, possessions of all kind, he may perhaps, after the first shock, discover that he is richer than before.
    (Human, All Too Human; Volume Two; translated by R.J. Hollingdale)

    My understanding is that it is life that is likened to a brigand, not a man. Life has robbed a man of all he has had, therefore life can be viewed as a brigand.

    Is my assumption correct?

    Thanks.

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    #2

    Re: If life has treated a man like a brigand

    Hello suprunp
    The simple answer is yes, life is like a brigand.
    Let me know if you have anymore questions!

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    #3

    Re: If life has treated a man like a brigand

    Quote Originally Posted by Shawnansan View Post
    Hello suprunp
    The simple answer is yes, life is like a brigand.
    Let me know if you have anymore questions!

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    (1) Teacher Shawnansan, modification questions also interest and really confuse me.

    (2) In "He treats his wife like a child," surely this means: He treats his wife as if she

    were a child.

    (3) May I most respectfully ask:

    Is there the possibility that the author mistakenly used "like" when he should have

    used "as": If life has treated a man as a brigand [would treat a man], ...


    Thank you

  2. suprunp's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: If life has treated a man like a brigand

    Thank you, Shawnansan!

    That life is like a brigand can only be perceived from the context. Without it it is possible that it is a man who is likened to a brigand, as in "He treats me like a dog", where it is I who is likened to a dog. Therefore this construction can be ambiguous sometimes.

    Am I right in this assumption?

    Thanks.

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    #5

    Re: If life has treated a man like a brigand

    It works both ways, life is a brigand, or he is, as brigands often end up shot, on the wrong end of a rope or taking a long walk off a short pier.
    He treats her like a dog, many sentences like that are common usage for so long now that they get by, even in well-written novels, let alone on TV where the dialogue may well treat one like brigand.

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    #6

    Re: If life has treated a man like a brigand

    Quote Originally Posted by JTRiff View Post
    He treats her like a dog, many sentences like that are common usage for so long now that they get by, even in well-written novels, let alone on TV where the dialogue may well treat one like brigand.

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    (1) Dear Member JTRiff, you say that sentences such as "He treats her like a

    dog" is an example of sentences that "get by."

    (2) But isn't that sentence perfectly correct? In other words, "He treats her

    as if she were a dog."

    (3) Wouldn't it be impossible to say "He treats her as a dog [would treat her]." Surely,

    he is not acting in the capacity of a dog.


    THANK YOU

  3. BobK's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: If life has treated a man like a brigand

    Sadly, this 'as'/'like' thing (which used to be observed and taught as a 'rule' - to the extent that my grandfather - a dyed-in-the-wool prescriptivist - always let out a loud 'Harumph' when advertisements said 'Winston tastes good, like a cigarette should') is no longer observed (and may never have been).

    As my first word suggests, this is a matter of some regret for me. But - to quote the subject of another thread - what can you do?


    b

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