from sheer decency

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Senior Member
Italy, Italian
Hi everybody.
In Warsaw Ghetto, some cooperative German and Polish policemen helped Jews for bribes, and some helped "for free from sheer decency".

Does it mean that they helped for nothing, prompted by reason of decency?
Why the preposition "from"?
Thanks in advance
  • Trisia

    Senior Member

    I think it helps if you add a comma there:
    "Some helped for free, from sheer decency" -- from means that this(decency) was the source of their action.

    Like this:
    You helped me out of the goodness of your heart - the decision to help me came from your heart.


    Senior Member
    USA English
    My understanding would be that they helped expecting no reward, and out of an internal recognition that it was the right thing to do.

    Interestingly, to me, "sheer" carries a sense of the extreme and is more frequently used with a negative. For example, "it was sheer madness to go out in the storm".
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