I am not a native English speaker, a reason for which I struggle to understand the meaning of some sentences used in literature which have even slightly different structure than ordinary. I quote here a sentence from 'The Eye of the World' by Robert Jordan,

"For all that spring should have come a good month since, the wind carried an icy chill as if it would rather bear snow."

The second part of this compound sentence is clear to me. However, I am unable to understand the meaning of the subordinate clause with which the sentence starts "For all that ... since,". Please clarify the meaning of this part and as it occurs to me that the word 'since' has been used in a way I have not seen before, so if there are similar examples of usage of 'since', please mention them as well. And also exemplify this kind of sentence structure, "For all that ... since, the main clause."

  • 2
    I would understand for all that to mean "even though" or "despite the fact that". The language is not contemporary. It seems to be a deliberate attempt to sound somewhat archaic. We normally see for all that used to mean "despite those things" and normally the reference of all that is a multiplicity, not a single fact as here: Spring should have come a good month since [earlier], but the wind carried an icy chill... for all that. I would not use the book to get a sense of the English language as it is spoken or written in 2018.
    – TimR
    Nov 5, 2018 at 12:22

1 Answer 1

  1. Merriam-Webster defines it thus:

for all that idiom

Definition of for all that : in spite of something just mentioned

She sacrificed many nights to study for the exam but for all that, she still failed.


In this context, nothing has been mentioned before - it is implied by the following, "should". Thus we could rewrite it as follows:

"Spring should have come a good month since, but for all that, the wind carried an icy chill as if it would rather bear snow."

Thus I agree with the comment by Tᴚoɯɐuo except that I don't find it particularly archaic.

  1. 'since' - In this case 'since' does not mean 'because'. It means exactly the same as 'ago', i.e.

"...spring should have come a good month ago ..."

  • Also a little strange to talk about the wind's preferences. Anthropomorphizing that invisible, non-thing thing increases the opportunity for misunderstanding, for sure. The sentence is more poetry than prose. It would not roll off most speaker's tongues or make most listeners feel they'd understood after just one hearing. (Huh? Could you repeat that? Again please. Once again, because I'm feeling frustrated you can't be clearer. Oh, you're a poet. Come have a beer with me.)
    – Kay V
    Nov 5, 2018 at 16:06
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    Maybe I'm just used to Jordan's prose, having read all the books in the Wheel of Time cycle (of which this is the first). Chapter 1 in each book starts with a similar passage about the wind. Nov 5, 2018 at 21:41

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