Grant whispers to me: “Look, you damned Englishman. ’E’s for it.” Uncle John was leanin’ up against the bay, an’ hummin’ that hymn I was tryin’ to tell you just now. He looked different all of a sudden—as if ’e’d got shaved. I don’t know anything of these things, but I cautioned Grant as to his style of speakin’, if an officer ’ad ’eard him, an’ I went on. Passin’ Uncle John in the bay, ’e nods an’ smiles, which he didn’t often, an’ he says, pocketin’ the paper “This suits me. I’m for leaf on the twenty-first, too.”’

This is from "The Madonna of the Trenches" by Rudyard Kipling.

I don't understand the meaning of ’E’s for it.”

I am glad if someone would kindly teach me.

  • 3
    It's a phonetic way of writing he's for it. (He is in serious trouble!) It is common among some English speakers to drop a leading h in this fashion. Sep 2, 2021 at 7:27
  • Thank you so much for your answer! Sep 2, 2021 at 8:11

1 Answer 1


"E's" is a generally lower class way of saying "He's" as in "He is". (Please don't object to my calling it lower class. Kipling chose it for that reason.) Not pronouncing the initial "h" is called H-dropping, it still takes place today in English, and it is still stigmatised as being lower class and/or uneducated.

"For it" (often seen as "in for it", especially outside Britian) is a colloquialism meaning "in trouble".

"He's for it" could also mean "he supports it", but that is not the meaning in the Kipling quote above.

"What's his opinion on shortening the time between elections?"

"He's for it. He thinks a shorter time would be a good idea."

Do not mistake "in for it" with the also common phrase "up for it". "Up for (it)" means one is willing to take part in an activity.

"Anyone up for swimming?"

"Sure, I'd love to go swimming."

  • Thank you so much for your detailed answer! Sep 2, 2021 at 8:12

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