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  1. Member
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    meaning of "indoors" and “to have and to be"

    I'm reading The Muse by Jessie Burton. The background is London in 1967 and the protagonist is a girl from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. She works in London as a typist. Her employer asks her if she speaks French and their conversation goes:

    ‘You speak French?’
    To have and to be confuse me greatly. I thought people spoke French in Trinidad?’
    I hesitated. ‘Only a few of our forebears were indoors, speaking with the French,’ I said.

    I'm confused about the grammar of "to have and to be confuse" here. Does it simply mean that she's confused? If so, why would she speak in this way? Is it a way to stress your feelings?

    I'm even more confused about what "indoors" means here. All the dictionaries I looked up say that indoor or indoors means inside a building, but this definition just doesn't fit this context. What does "indoors" mean? Can anybody give me some clues?

  2. VIP Member
    Interested in Language
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    Re: meaning of "indoors" and “to have and to be"

    Anglophones learning French often find the verbs avoir and être, "to have" and "to be", confusing.

    The speaker's ancestors were slaves, most of whom worked outside in the fields. Only the small minority who worked as domestic servants indoors learned French.
    I am not a teacher.

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