I would like to know what "he’s looking between Charlie and Jules" means in the following sentences:

‘So Charlie boy,’ Johnno says, ‘tell us. How did you two first meet?’

I think at first he means Charlie and I. Then I realise he’s looking between Charlie and Jules. Right.

‘A millions years ago . . .’ Jules says. She and Charlie raise their eyebrows at each other in perfect unison.

‘I taught her to sail,’ Charlie says. ‘I lived in Cornwall. It was my summer job.’

  • Lucy Foley, The Guest List, Chapter 12

This is a thriller novel published in 2020 in the United Kingdom. One hundred and fifty guests would be gathering at some remote and deserted fictional islet called Inis an Amplóra off the coast of the island of Ireland to celebrate the wedding between Jules (a self-made woman running an online magazine called The Download) and Will (a celebrity appearing in a TV show program called Survive the Night). The day before the actual wedding day, Hannah, the wife of Charlie (Jules' friend), arrived at the island and is now at the dinner party for the rehearsal dinner with only some selected guests. And during the party, Johnno, Will's friend, asks Charlie and Jules as to how they came to meet each other in the first place. At first, Hannah thinks the question is directed to Charlie and herself, but soon realizes that it is for Jules and Charlie.

In this part, I wonder what "between" means in particular. Does it mean that Johnno really saw the air between Jules and Charlie, or shall I say, looked towards the direction where the two were standing?

Or perhaps that, Johnno saw Jules, and then Charlie, in an alternating way? (These are just my guesses.)

1 Answer 1


Your guesses make sense. In context I imagine looking at Jules, the Charlie, then back again. But the others readings also make sense and are possible.

Its ambiguous, but only in an aspect that isn't critical to the meaning. The meaning is that Johnno indicates, without speaking (just by the direction that he is looking), that he is asking about Charlie and Jules. So there is no need to be confused by the ambiguity.

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