I have this sentence in a Literature class:

For Hemingway, the world was defined by strife: full of chaos, moral decisions and ambiguous moral boundaries, and inevitable pain.

  • to what does each "and" refer?
  • the word "inevitable" in the passage is closest in meaning to?

a. a certain

b. possible

c. apparent

d. unexpected

  • 7
    1) I don't understand what you mean by "each and to what prefer?" 2) The question about inevitable may be readily answered with a good dictionary, such as the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary; if that leaves you in any doubt, you may click on the edit link above to revise your question, citing what you find in the dictionary and addressing more specific issues. Keep in mind that "A certain" does not mean the same thing as "certain". Commented May 10, 2013 at 22:25
  • I mean what is the words that "and" connect? Commented May 10, 2013 at 22:36
  • Is this sentence by you or written somewhere about Hemingway? Could you show the reference of sentence? Commented May 10, 2013 at 22:42
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    @PersianCat I think you should undelete it. It's a good answer, prompted by a bad question/answer passed to us (I'm pretty confident) in good faith by an innocent bystander. Commented May 11, 2013 at 0:47
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    I think this question is Too Localised. From what I can make out, all it asks is whether inevitable actually means certain, Which could be answered by any dictionary. Commented May 11, 2013 at 1:27

2 Answers 2


After some research I think no one of them can be completely correct. Maybe a certain is a typo because only certain can be the correct answer. No one of the other answers is a synonym of inevitable. A certain means specific as StoneyB said above in comments.

The definition of Inevitable is the following one:


  1. unable to be avoided, evaded, or escaped; certain; necessary: an inevitable conclusion.
  2. sure to occur, happen, or come; unalterable: The inevitable end of human life is death. noun
  3. that which is unavoidable.

1400–50; late Middle English < Latin inēvītābilis. See in-3, evitable

The definition of Certain is the following one:

inevitable; bound to come: They realized then that war was certain.

I think a certain can be the answer if we suppose the question is correct.

  • 1
    +1. Do you think you could include StoneyB's comment that "a certain" means "a specific". Consequently, you might like to point out that the answer should really be "certain" rather than "a certain".
    – Matt
    Commented May 11, 2013 at 0:49

Persian Cat has answered your second question.

I take it that what prompts your first question is the presence of two ands—why does the writer say “A, B and C, and D?” instead of simply “A, B, C, and D?”

This may not admit of a constructive answer, because what is in play here is a matter of literary (or would-be literary) style. I suspect that what the author intends us to understand is that something or other is full of A, B, and C — and, on top of that, D. If that is the case, I feel he would better served by using a dash instead of a comma before the second and, thus:

For Hemingway, the world was defined by strife: full of chaos, moral decisions and ambiguous moral boundaries—and inevitable pain.

In any case, it’s a pretentious and unconsidered sentence. Semantically, the full of phrase is probably meant to describe the world. Syntactically, however, the colon after strife implies that the phrase describes either strife or full of strife. Certainly the reader is led to expect that what follows will somehow characterize exemplify strife, but, alas, it does not: neither the strife by which the world is defined nor the striving parties are ever identified.

This is the worst sort of impressionist criticism: a string high-flown abstractions which sound as if they must mean something which you the reader are clearly not smart enough to understand, when in fact it is the author who is not courteous or craftsmanlike enough to put his thoughts in an intelligible order before laying them before you.

  • You are right. Honestly I couldn't find why the author has chosen such structure! Because of it I asked to find the original reference may find out it but I couldn't find it in any on line reference. Commented May 11, 2013 at 12:00

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