When I am reading sense and sensibility, this sentence beats me.

1) why should three letters of "HER" are all capital?

2) As to the latter sentence, "two maids and a man" is the subject, but what is predicate? I think "with whom... Norland" is a clause.

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    The capitalisation of HER is a non-standard orthographic device intended to provide emphasis and make it clear that it refers to Elinor rather than Mrs Dashwood. I don't know how Austen herself wrote it, but since it's not easy to use italics in handwriting she'd have had to either underline or capitalise. Most modern editions use italics there though. Mar 23, 2017 at 15:48
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    Note that two maids and a man (and the entire remainder of the sentence) is simply a "restatement" of preceding three. Which isn't grammatically the "subject" of anything - it's just the "object" of the subclause with whom they were provided... Mar 23, 2017 at 15:53
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    Also note that this passage contains a lot of constructions that are incredibly convoluted and/or would be extremely unlikely in modern English. Don't look to it as a model for how to write well today. Mar 23, 2017 at 15:55

2 Answers 2



Text formatting has to be considered in context of the publication first. In this instance, all caps are used for "HER" to indicate italics. If italics or bold fonts are not available to the publisher's methods, all caps is used. You can see here in an alternate publication where italics is available to the publisher.

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The Reason for the CAPS

In this exchange, there is a difference of opinion between the mother, Mrs. Dashwood, and the practical and prudent eldest daughter, Elinor, of which belongings they keep or dispose. The italics emphasizes a contrast to the previous sentence, "...the discretion of Elinor prevailed." But, if it had been up to Mrs. Dashwood, SHE would have done it differently.


The actual parsing of that sentence is difficult for me to explain in long hand. You're correct that "two maids and a man" is the subject. The predicate would be "were speedily provided." You also have the subject "they." The two subjects are connected by the prepositional phrase "with whom"; two subjects with the same verb.

I recommend this web based parsing app that will take short sentences and parse them with great explanations. I typed in an abbreviated form of the sentence and got this parsing (lots of fun):

"Two maids and a man, with whom they were speedily provided from those at Norland."

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It means the "two maids and a man" came from the servant staff they previously had at Norland.

An "establishment" informally can be an organization, a company, a household, or a club. It generally just means a group of people with some associated activities and usually has a location. So if you had a house with your family and some servants they would be part of the establishment you had there.

Speedily provided here probably means they got them quickly.

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