What does "the dramatic" mean in this sentence? I could get that the house in under a sad mood, my guess is that the sisters "tended to make dramas or mistakes, or getting attention in the family"? or "they are afraid to be their normal selves just as not to get lectured during this special period"? Can anyone help me to get some specific picture of it?

Here is the sentence:

My grandmother had died a month previously after a long illness, and that summer was veiled in a thin layer of sadness; it gently smothered everything we did, muting mine and my sister’s tendencies to the dramatic, and cancelling our usual summer routines of brief holidays and days out.

No special context here, just the narrator's flashback.

2 Answers 2


It means that the sisters generally liked to make dramas out of everything.

"Having tendencies to (do) something" means that in any given situation, they were likely to act in a certain way.

"tendencies to the dramatic" here means that the way they reacted tended to be dramatic - ie they often over-reacted, blowing things up out of proportion to their seriousness.

In context, this is telling you that because of their sadness over their grandmother's death, they reacted in a much less dramatic way than they usually would to whatever was happening.


We often use 'the (adjective)' as a short way of saying '(adjective) people', for example 'The poor have difficulty getting good-quality health care', meaning 'poor people (in general)'. It is used less with things or places, but here 'the dramatic' means 'dramatic things' or 'dramatic behaviour': '(our) tendencies to dramatic behaviour'.

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