“I mean young grown-ups. You’re lucky, you know. You and Jem have the benefit of your father’s age. If your father was thirty you’d find life quite different.”

“I sure would. Atticus can’t do anything...”

“You’d be surprised,” said Miss Maudie. “There’s life in him yet.”

“What can he do?”

“Well, he can make somebody’s will so airtight can’t anybody meddle with it.”

(To Kill a Mockingbird)

I feel like something is missing in the sentence cause there's two verbs(can/can't), and thus having difficulty understanding what this sentence means. If this sentence originally has 'that', I still feel like there has to be a subject. (He can make somebody's will so airtight that ...(?)) Can anyone help me with this?

1 Answer 1


You are on the right track. Will is the subject; it is a noun in this sentence.

The second half of the sentence is written in a nonstandard dialect form. In standard English, it would be "...that nobody can meddle with it."

  • thanks! But then what does make somebody's will airtight exactly mean?
    – dbwlsld
    Mar 16, 2018 at 12:15
  • 2
    To be airtight means to have no weaknesses, and this adjective is frequently applied to legal documents like wills (which are legal documents that say what happens to your property after you die). This phrase just means that this lawyer is good at writing wills that cannot be successfully challenged (meddled with) after your death. Mar 16, 2018 at 13:53
  • @CanadianYankee - That would make a good answer.
    – J.R.
    Mar 16, 2018 at 14:39

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