His assessment of Bloom—like his praise of other scholars and critics—is intensely personal, including jibes about his physical girth and style of delivery ("Bloom/Boom") and not the better for it.

I googled the meaning of it and got the explanation for "all the better for" is "improved as a result of". I wonder if it is correct to interpret the meaning of and is not the better for it in this sentence as

(The writer) doesn't gain anything/improve himself (by jibing at the critic).

  • The phrase is well-defined in numerous dictionaries, e.g. Macmillan. The next time you encounter a word or phrase that puzzles you, why not consult a dictionary instead of "googling it" first? It will save you a step! Jun 20, 2017 at 3:03

1 Answer 1


Yes, that is what "to be the better for ____" means. (Another similar wording, which I think is only possible in the negative, is "to be no better off for ____".)

However, you haven't quite got the subject right. It's the writer's assessment that's not better for it:

The assessment is not improved by the inclusion of personal aspersions.

In general, when you see a possessive like "the writer's assessment", you can't take "the writer" out to be the subject of the next verb, unless you introduce a new pronoun.

So to allow your interpretation, we would need to see something like this:

The writer's assessment of the critic includes personal aspersions ... and he is not the better for it.

  • I am confused, does "his" refer to the writer or the critic?
    – No One
    Jun 20, 2017 at 2:06
  • @TiWen It refers to the critic. The writer has made this assessment, so he is not likely to insult his own physical girth and style of delivery. :) Jun 20, 2017 at 2:07

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