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    #1

    It was terrifying ...

    Hi,

    Can anybody help me to understand the bold text?

    "Lonely as if this sequestered building were a caravel lost on unmeasured seas, we strugled on between fascination and horror. It was terrifying enough heavens know before Tod went mad. We shall say mad for lack of a word."

    Do I undestrand correctly the situation would have been horrible enough without the dog Tod going mad? Simply the madness of the dog made the oppressive situation much more oppressive?


    Leonard Cline, The Dark Chamber, 1927

    Thank you for help.

  1. Grumpy's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: It was terrifying ...

    Yes; you are correct.
    I'm not a teacher of English, but I have spoken it for (almost) all of my life....

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: It was terrifying ...

    "Heavens know" is incorrect. The phrase is "Heaven knows". There are commas missing too. That sentence should read "It was terrifying enough, heaven knows, before Tod went mad." It would be more natural as "Heaven knows it was terrifying enough before Tod went mad."
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: It was terrifying ...

    Perhaps, it was correct in 1927.

  4. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: It was terrifying ...

    It seems to me to be really poor editing. For example, there's a word missing here:

    We shall say mad for lack of a word.


  5. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: It was terrifying ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel View Post
    It seems to me to be really poor editing. For example, there's a word missing here:

    We shall say mad for lack of a word.

    I can't see anything missing from that sentence. It works fine in BrE.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  6. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: It was terrifying ...

    Since there is already a "word" there, "a better word" seems logical. That would be likely in AmE.

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    #8

    Re: It was terrifying ...

    The text in the book is:

    "It was terrifying enough heaven knows before Tod went mad. We shall say mad for lack of a word."

  7. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: It was terrifying ...

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    Since there is already a "word" there, "a better word" seems logical. That would be likely in AmE.
    Yes! The well-known phrase is ​for lack of a better word. (The text has plenty plenty of words. Why would it need more?)

    "For lack of a word" makes sense in BrE?

  8. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: It was terrifying ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel View Post
    Yes! The well-known phrase is ​for lack of a better word. (The text has plenty plenty of words. Why would it need more?)

    "For lack of a word" makes sense in BrE?
    Yes, it does.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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