One of the characters is speaking to the main protagonist about his wife:

'Here you live with us,' says she, 'you eat and drink and are kept warm and you do nothing to help.' And much she gets to eat and drink when there is not a crust for the little ones for three days!

This last sentence seems odd to me as a non-native speaker. It would make sense in my native language if it was a question, even more, if it went "And how much she ..." What am I not getting?

  • You should check the translations to see if there is a better one. It is old fashioned and the woman refers to herself as she.
    – Lambie
    Aug 8, 2021 at 19:36
  • @Lambie "the woman refers to herself as she" - where does she do that? Aug 8, 2021 at 19:59
  • @MichaelHarvey I first thought it was part of her speech. Now, I see it isn't.
    – Lambie
    Aug 8, 2021 at 20:16
  • A problem may be that the 1914 Constance Garnett translation is the only one that is out of copyright at this time. Later efforts up to the 2018 Michael R. Katz version have to be paid for. A hopeful non-native reader is going to face much the same barriers if they try a mid-19th century text by a native English speaker. Article about the 7 translations in print here Aug 8, 2021 at 20:19

1 Answer 1


The last sentence is not a question - 'much she gets to eat and drink' (instead of 'she gets much'...) is an example of inversion used for emphasis - much she eats while children starve! This mode of expression would have been common in 1866 when Crime and Punishment was written, and still understandable in 1914 when this translation was published.

Inversion (BBC Learning English)

  • So does this mean she actually eats alot ? Aug 9, 2021 at 3:30
  • @StaticBounce - that is exactly what it means. Aug 9, 2021 at 6:56
  • Ah, ok. Thank you a lot :) Aug 9, 2021 at 10:07

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