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    #1

    the better to learn Italian

    IN 2012, Jhumpa Lahiri moved to Rome and began a period of self-imposed linguistic exile from English. She stopped speaking, reading, and writing the language entirely, the better to learn Italian.
    http://www.economist.com/blogs/prosp...nativelanguage

    In the above passage, does the better to learn Italian mean in order to learn Italian better?
    I need native speakers' help.

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: the better to learn Italian

    Yes. She felt that by her native language and immersing herself in Italian, she would learn Italian better (and presumably faster).
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #3

    Re: the better to learn Italian

    Companies are obsessed with understanding how “millennials” think, the better to recruit them or sell them stuff.

    Does the better to V normally mean in order to V better?
    Last edited by sitifan; 28-Sep-2016 at 01:38.
    I need native speakers' help.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: the better to learn Italian

    Generally, yes.

    I went out for drinks with my boss three times last week, the better to get to know him.
    I went out for drinks with my boss three times last week, in order to get to know him better.

    I am going on a Spanish immersion course, the faster to learn the language.
    I am going on a Spanish immersion course, in order to learn the language faster.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  3. Piscean's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: the better to learn Italian

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I went out for drinks with my boss three times last week, the better to get to know him.
    I am going on a Spanish immersion course, the faster to learn the language.
    I don't find these, or the original, very natural. Perhaps it's just me.

  4. Roman55's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: the better to learn Italian

    Perhaps it's just us.
    I am not a teacher

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    #7

    Re: the better to learn Italian

    Sounds a bit old-fashioned to me. I'm reminded of Red Riding Hood's 'Grandma': "All the better to eat you with!"

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    #8

    Re: the better to learn Italian

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Sounds a bit old-fashioned to me. I'm reminded of Red Riding Hood's 'Grandma': "All the better to eat you with!"
    What is the object of the preposition with?
    I need native speakers' help.

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    #9

    Re: the better to learn Italian

    The big teeth that Red Riding Hood has just commented on.

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    #10

    Re: the better to learn Italian

    I immediately thought of Little Red Riding Hood too when I saw the thread title. Perhaps that story is often the first exposure we native English speakers have to this construction.

    It's not just used with "better". For example:

    A: "I don't eat meat."
    B: "All the more for me."
    Translator, editor and TESOL certificate holder, but not a teacher.

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