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Wu Ting
How would you interpret “I’ll give her that”? “This is something different. It’s not civilized. Imagine saying any such things to a human person.” “No, you’re right. They’re an angry bunch.” She took the pages out of my hands. “Angry is not the word for it. These folk don’t even ken you to be a real man. They give you no benefit of a doubt. I expect they’d be kinder to a neighbor’s dog that bit them.” “Well, that’s true. My neighbor here at least sent a note about Romulus. She said ‘please,’ and sent the gifts back. I’ll give her that.” How would you interpret “I’ll give her that” in the last passage? PS: the narrator was a novelist who receiving several hateful letters. Thanks. And this excerpt is taken from The Lacuna by Kingsolver.
Jun 11, 2015 1:18 AM
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Answers · 2
It is difficult to explain, but it is in essence used to highlight a minor good quality regardless of some bad qualities. "My neighbor is a Nazi, but she recycles so I'll give her that" "He is loud, obnoxious, and a bit of a bully, but he does protect is friends. I'll give him that".
June 11, 2015
I hope I can explain this. I believe this is the context: The characters in this passage are having a conversation about the people in their community/neighborhood. The characters here are describing the people in the community as being rude/hateful/cruel. Even though the speaker is angry, he admits that one of his neighbors demonstrated politeness. The phrase "I'll give him/her that" is basically stating that you are reluctantly/grudgingly acknowledging someone else. In this case, I interpret the speaker's words as: The people in this area are mean! But... I will admit that my neighbor did show me some kindness. (By sending me a note and using the word "please".) I hope my explanation made sense. Let me know if you'd like me to elaborate on anything.
June 11, 2015
Wu Ting
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, French
Learning Language
English