I found one sentence a bit hard to understand while reading a prose written by a Chinese author; if I rewrite it into "which she had failed to return from," the word home then seems unnecessary. I can sense there is a difference between from which she had failed to return and from which she had failed to return home, but I'm still confused, please tell me if there's any other way to rewrite this line?

Here's a quote:

This little manoeuvre instantly recalled to my mind’s eye the image of my maternal grandmother doing so for me, for she had been doing so for me from my childhood years until a little before she fell grievously sick and was sent into the hospital to go through a tormenting and lonely sojourn, from which she had failed to return home.

  • We commonly speak of people going or coming home from hospital. Commented Aug 30, 2023 at 18:59
  • And even in situations not involving hospitalization: I will pick up the mail at the post office when we return home from our visit. We used to call home an adverb when used in that manner, but my hunch is that it's probably regarded as a preposition or adposition in modern grammars.
    – TimR
    Commented Aug 30, 2023 at 20:23

1 Answer 1


from which she had failed to return home

This expression has a double meaning, and the author had meant both of those meanings, and that's why it was used.

The expression reveals:

  • whether she regained her health; whether she healed or not,
  • whether she returned into our lives (into our family home, into our community), or not.

When she failed to do that, it means that

  • not only she lost her life, but importantly,
  • we, the rest of us, the family, had also lost her.
    • Actually, the narrative is almost putting a greater emphasis on our perspective of loss then on hers.
      • Because, in the end, it's us who remain here and remain to have any conscious perspective, any perception of this reality from which she is now irrevocably missing — unlike her, who had left all that capacity for suffering behind.

In my interpretation, that's what that single word, "home" does, in that sentence.


This excercise seems to demonstrate that home is more than mere shelter.

Home —especially in high literature— appears to imply an expectation of human community.

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