3

Here is what J. R. R. Tolkien wrote in “Leaf by Niggle” (just before, Niggle was only told to take the train that he finds on the railway station nearby, he had no information on where he should go):

He [Niggle] walked downhill to the station briskly, but without hurry. The Porter spotted him at once.

"This way!" he said, and led Niggle to a bay, in which there was a very pleasant little local train standing: one coach, and a small engine […]. The coach was empty.

"Where does this train go, Porter?" asked Niggle.

"I don't think they have fixed its name yet," said the Porter. "But you'll find it all right." He shut the door.

The train moved off at once.

What does the bolded part mean? “You'll have no problem finding the place” or “you'll think the place is all right”? I think the verb “find” means both, but I don't believe that Tolkien was so ambiguous. Or should I?

That Niggle had no problem finding the unknown place is obvious: a little bit later in the story, the train just stopped when it arrived at its destination, and so Niggle went out to, as it turned out, his magical country. But maybe the Porter liked telling obvious things, or maybe the thing was not so obvious to Niggle yet, so I can't decide…

1
  • 2
    It's the standard meaning of to find, to determine location. Maybe there is a bit of innuendo of to like, but since the name isn't fixed that might imply difficulties finding the location.
    – Hector von
    Mar 25 '17 at 13:33
1

Actually taken out of context it could have either meaning, either "you will be able to find it," or possibly, "you will find it to your liking." The most common meaning would be the first, as Hector von says in his comment, the standard definition of "find".

However if you're reading someone speaking in an unfamiliar dialect you never really know for certain. A British person reading Tolkien would be familiar with this phrase ("would find this phrase familiar") but as an American, I'd have to take my best guess.

Of course it works in both directions and there are many common American expressions that British people might find confusing at first.

1
  • Reading the story, in context, it meant "like". (Niggle doesn't have to locate anything, but he's very happy with where he ended up) Mar 28 '17 at 3:26
0

Actually, "you'll find it all right" can mean at least three things:

"You'll find it without a problem."

"You'll find it, and it will be to your liking."

"You'll certainly find it, but you'll wish you hadn't."

One example of the third meaning, which has a sense of menace, can be found in a song from the musical "Sweeney Todd", describing a poor woman who has gone to see a rich and powerful judge who has previously harrassed her but now is pretending to be repentant. He has lured her to his house, but has waited for her to drink and lower her defenses before he reveals himself.

"Oh, where is Judge Turpin?" she asks

He was there, all right, only not so contrite

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .