0

What is the meaning of "We had back in the pickup truck" in the following sentences,

"There's only one way to deal with a melon that size," said Daddy, "I'd cut a door in it with the chain saw. We'd back in the pickup truck and scoop out the insides. Then we'd be eating watermelon for a very long time."

SOURCE: THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT By ALICE SCHERTLE, ILLUSTRATED BY JOHN WALLNER

Does "We had back in the pickup truck" mean "We came back out of the watermelon again by the pickup truck"? Or does it mean "We had climbed the back of the pickup truck" ?

What does "had back in" in the sentence mean ?

enter image description here

1

In this context, the contraction "we'd" is actually short for "we would," rather than the more common "we had." Also, in this sentence, "back in" means to drive the pickup truck backwards. So, that sentence means that they would drive the pickup truck backwards into the watermelon.

Note: It's more common to say "back up the pickup truck." However, in this sentence, "back in" does make sense; the writer has left out unnecessary words. A more wordy version of the sentence would be, "We would back up the pickup truck into the watermelon and scoop out the watermelon's insides." The writer has combined "back up" and "into" in an acceptable manner.

2
  • More common for whom? English is spoken worldwide, so you can probably find communities that prefer "back up" and other communities that prefer "back in".
    – CJ Dennis
    Feb 1 '20 at 9:43
  • "Back up" is more generic. "Back in" implies that you're moving the truck in reverse into something, such as a garage or parking space; "back up" only implies reversing the truck. Feb 1 '20 at 19:33
1

You have parsed the sentence incorrectly.

We'd back in the pickup truck and scoop out the insides.

doesn't mean

*We had back in the pickup truck and scoop out the insides.

It means

We would back in the pickup truck and scoop out the insides.

When the verb "have" is used as an auxiliary, it is followed by a past participle. So "back" would have to become "backed":

We had backed in the pickup truck and scooped out the insides.

As you can see, both [had] and [would] can contract to just ['d]. You can always tell the difference from the surrounding words.


"to back in" a vehicle means to drive it in reverse gear to a particular spot:

We would reverse the pickup truck and scoop out the insides [of the watermelon].

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.