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In Memento (2000), Mrs Jankins asks Leonard about his husband short term memory loss condition:

Mrs Jankins: What do you think that's like for me...to suspect he might be imagining this whole problem...and that if I just could say the right thing...he'd snap out of it and go back to being normal?

What does "that's like for me" mean?

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  • What does he think [the situation she is about to describe] is like for her? Commented Jan 9, 2022 at 16:46

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"What x is like for someone".

  • to be like for someone (asking for a description).
  • to be like [x], a simile.

In a question. It's used frequently to ask the person you are speaking to if they can imagine what that situation means/meant for you.

When you answer that, you don't usually use the word like. You say: It was awful, it was tiring, etc. It's usually negative.

It derives from the use of the word like in similes (figures of speech):

What was it like? It was like a dream.

What was it like? It was like a nightmare.

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She asks 'What do you think that [is] like for me'? 'That' is living with her husband's short term memory loss condition.

that

pronoun

  1. referring to a specific thing previously mentioned, known, or understood.

That (Lexico)

When we talk about what something is like for us, we mean what it feels like for us to experience or live with that thing.

She is asking 'can you imagine what it feels like for me to live with my husband's condition?'

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