She will make him a very proper wife -Pride218-

Does it mean she will become a proper wife? Or she will make him turn into a woman(wife)?

I think that the sentence above goes like this:

He quit smoking cold turkey. This could mean he quit smoking + he was cold turkey.

So, cold turkey describes the man.

I guess also the given sentence in which "a very proper wife" is embedded has the same structure as the example I provided.

Are those right?

  • I'm guessing it's proper in the sense of appropriate. But it's difficult to tell... do you have a link to the full source for the statement?
    – Catija
    Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 20:15
  • Also, the statement "He was cold turkey" makes absolutely no sense unless you're saying that something was actually or figuratively a cold turkey... but I'm not sure what that would be.
    – Catija
    Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 20:16
  • @Catija It's from "Pride and Prejudice".
    – M.A.R.
    Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 20:16
  • @MARamezani Of course it is. :P That's what I thought but I wanted to be sure.
    – Catija
    Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 20:26
  • He stated that his love for her was neither sudden nor accidental, and she replied that he would make a better lawyer than lover. "Make" = be|achieve. Compare "He has all the makings of a lawyer." Qualities that would allow one to be {something}.
    – TimR
    Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 0:41

4 Answers 4


"I like her appearance", said Elizabeth, struck with other ideas. "She looks sickly and cross. -- Yes, she will do for him very well. She will make him a very proper wife."

At this point in the story, Elizabeth is being a bit mean. She's talking to herself and has heard that Miss De Bourgh was intended to marry Mr. Darcy from their childhoods.

She's not particularly fond of Darcy's actions towards her older sister, Jane, and thinks that he deserves to have someone who has the seeming of propriety (her esteemed family background and inheritance) because it seems to be all he cares about (over the actual feelings the two people have for each other).

So, what she's saying is that, based on his preference for matching people (in marriage) who are of the same social stature, and his mean nature (in her eyes at the time) Miss. De Bourgh will be an appropriate match for his sensibilities and personality.

It's sort of her saying "He'll get what he deserves" because she's angry and doesn't want him to be happy.

  • You are right. The sentence that i provided was not enough for asking question. espeacially that sentence were needed more information of what happenings have been occured before saying like that
    – user10222
    Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 18:16

I would take this sentence to literally mean:

She will be a good wife for him.

To describe something as 'proper' can by synonymous with 'excellent' or sometimes even 'apt'.

In this case, 'very proper' serves as an adjective describing 'She'.

The use of the verb 'to make' is typical of UK/British english to be synonymous with 'will be' when used in this context.

Also, good luck for reading pride and prejudice. I have stopped reading it many times, despite my best intentions.

  • In this case, I think 'proper' should be equated with correct, as in correct behavior. Elizabeth is thinking that Miss De Burgh will do everything that society expects of her. That may or not equate to being a 'good wife' for Darcy.
    – mkennedy
    Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 19:11
  • Good clarification mkennedy. I believe we are thinking the same thing, but I forget what parts of my speech are regional and/or idiomatic. Where I grew up a 'good wife' would have been one that 'does everything society expects of her'. Sometimes oversimplification brings out the difference in language. Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 19:23
  • I believe the meaning of "proper" here is "Suitable for a specified or implicit purpose or requirement" (OED).
    – David42
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 16:23

Others have explained your proper wife sentence, but we need to clarify the cold turkey sentence.

The phrase cold turkey is a two-word adverbial expression meaning "abruptly".

So, the sentence:

He quit smoking cold turkey.

does not mean "he quit smoking + he was cold turkey." Rather, it describes the manner in which he quit smoking. I could say, for example:

Bob quit smoking gradually, by smoking two less cigarettes per day every few days, until he was down to zero. But his friend Frank quit smoking cold turkey.

That means Frank just stopped smoking one day, and never smoked again.

  • Thank you for giving me more clear sense of aspect for structures :)
    – user10222
    Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 18:20

It means "She will become a very proper wife."

make is the synonym/has the meaning of become in his context. make and become are synonyms in a particular context.

  • I appreciate your valuable answer
    – user10222
    Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 18:22
  • You should upvote the answers you accept, and mark the best one as "resolved". Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 18:33

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