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    • Join Date: Feb 2009
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    #1

    to be all of nineteen

    Good morning, could you help me with this sentence? I don't know what the part in bold means. Perhaps it refers to his age?

    Andrew had known that Lewis's father, John Percy, had been all of nineteen when John Percy had died.

    Moreover, I don't understand why "John Percy" is repeated. It seems to me that it doesn't make much sense.

    Thank you

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    • Join Date: Apr 2008
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    #2

    Re: to be all of nineteen

    Quote Originally Posted by edix1310 View Post
    Good morning, could you help me with this sentence? I don't know what the part in bold means. Perhaps it refers to his age?

    Andrew had known that Lewis's father, John Percy, had been all of nineteen when John Percy had died.

    Moreover, I don't understand why "John Percy" is repeated. It seems to me that it doesn't make much sense.

    Thank you
    It's certainly a very strange piece of writing, where did you find it? It seems to be saying that John Percy, the father of Lewis, was 19 when another John Percy died, perhaps a famous John Percy of which there have been a few. The use of the past perfect throughout is a bit odd too.


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
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    #3

    Re: to be all of nineteen

    'John Percy' is repeated to avoid the use of the pronoun 'he', which on first reading, could refer to Andrew or Lewis also. Three people have been named within the one sentence, and one involving a relationship - 'Lewis's father. It obviates interrupting the flow of the narrative while the reader twigs who is being referred to by 'he'.

    The use of the past perfect throughout is a bit odd too.
    That's because it's an isolated sentence. Presumably, there is either a sentence preceding, in the past tense; or this sentence is a tension-builder:some more important event/information is to follow in the next sentence.

    "all of..." is typically used ironically, of a quantity considered small by the speaker. e.g. "The show lasted all of six weeks."
    In the sentence quoted, it emphasizes that he was very young when he died,( particularly considering he had fathered a child)
    Last edited by David L.; 18-Feb-2009 at 12:41.

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