English is not my mother tongue. So many times I have problems understanding exact meaning of it.

While I was reading Hillbilly Elegy, I found a word quite confusing.

I thought about losing my temper with Mom or Linsay, or Mamaw, and how those were among the few times Papaw ever showed a mean streak, because, as he once told me, "the measure of a man is how he treats the women in his family."

What does those mean? Does it mean Mom, Linsay and Mamaw? Or grandpa losing his temper with them?

1 Answer 1


The sentence is a bit loosely constructed. "Those" is clearly plural, but it is referring back to a thing that was not indicated as plural or even really as an event: "losing my temper".

It might have been more clearly written as "I thought about the times I lost my temper with Mom or Linsay or Mamaw, and how those were among the few times ...".

  • Thank you for your kind explanation !
    – Heather
    Commented May 5, 2019 at 13:50

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