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In Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book I found:

The man's cub is ours -- to kill if we choose.

I saw this kind of construction for the first time.

Does it mean:

"The man's cub is for us to kill if we choose to do so." ?

Do

This dog is mine to feed and yours to water.

And

The dog is for me to feed and for you to water.

mean the same?

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  • 1
    You understand correctly. The cake is for me to eat and for you to pay for. Sep 10 '20 at 11:14
  • @MichaelHarvey is it the same as "It is for me to eat the cake and for you to pay."?
    – user100323
    Sep 10 '20 at 11:55
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    Yes it is the same. Sep 10 '20 at 12:44
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"The man's cub is for us to kill if we choose to do so."

"The dog is for me to feed and for you to water."

Yes, as Michael Harvey commented, you interpreted correctly.

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Your interpretation is correct, as others have noted.

It is interesting to note that the author plays with language a bit here.

The dash indicates a pause in the sentence as it was spoken. To the listeners, it would seem the sentence had ended after ours:

The man's cub is ours

Meaning, he belongs to us, he is our possession. That is threatening already, but then the speaker adds, after a pause:

to kill if we choose

Now the original sentence suddenly changes meaning. Instead of just saying "the kid is our possession" he changes it to "if we feel like it we will kill the kid".

Just when you think the threat is made, it gets even worse :)

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