“I wish I could say anything to comfort you,” replied Elizabeth, “but it is wholly out of my power. You must feel it, and the usual satisfaction of preaching patience to a sufferer is denied me, because you have always so much.”

from Pride and Prejudice

I understand that :

  1. [deny somebody something], as in : They were denied access.


  1. [deny something to somebody] , as in : Access was denied to them.

But in some archaic usage as in the above mentioned, there is no "to"; so can I conclude that :

[something be denied to somebody] = [something be denied somebody] ?


should I conclude that it's another usage of "deny":

{ something be denied somebody} = { somebody can't have something }?

Could someone help please, thanks.

1 Answer 1


I wouldn't have thought of it as particularly archaic, but, yes, Elizabeth means that the satisfaction is denied to her.

  • So it's a formal speech? and do common English people still speak this way? like: All dairy products are denied me since I am lactose intolerant. The confusion for me is why "to" is missed here. People say "it is given to me", not "it is given me“, right?
    – user86301
    May 1, 2020 at 7:57
  • 1
    I didn't say it was formal, though Jane Austen's characters do speak a rather formal English. It is still possible to say it is denied me and it is given me (see english.stackexchange.com/questions/147050/… and try Googling it is given me. May 1, 2020 at 8:15
  • I see now. thank you so much! I was mislead/influenced by another post saying this usage is formal and dated. ell.stackexchange.com/questions/28859/…
    – user86301
    May 1, 2020 at 8:41

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