he did not look at all comfortable, and it was certainly not becoming.

geve

Senior Member
France, French
Hi, forum,

This sentence is from Alice in Wonderland:

The judge, by the way, was the King; and as he wore his crown over the wig (look at the frontispiece if you want to see how he did it), he did not look at all comfortable, and it was certainly not becoming.

I don't understand the use of "it" in the last part of the sentence. The author can't be referring to the King with both "he" and "it" in the same sentence, can he? Or does the "it" implicitly mean "the situation"?

Many thanks :)
 
  • geve

    Senior Member
    France, French
    All right... It seems that it was once more a misunderstanding from my part. :eek:

    I had read "becoming" as the gerundive of "to become" and not as the adjective, and thought that the sentence meant "he did not look at all comfortable, and it was certainly not becoming [comfortable]".

    I promise that one day I will come here and ask an intelligent question. (maybe not in a near future though) :rolleyes:

    Thank you both! :)
     

    englishman

    Senior Member
    English England
    geve said:
    All right... It seems that it was once more a misunderstanding from my part. :eek:

    I had read "becoming" as the gerundive of "to become" and not as the adjective, and thought that the sentence meant "he did not look at all comfortable, and it was certainly not becoming [comfortable]".

    I promise that one day I will come here and ask an intelligent question. (maybe not in a near future though) :rolleyes:

    Thank you both! :)
    "becoming" in the sense used in the text means "suitable for someone of his status". It has nothing to do with improving his appearance, or a change in the state of his comfort.

    This use of "become", in the sense of "appropriate" is rather old-fashioned these days, but occasionally, you'll hear a schoolteacher reprimand a child with an expression like:

    "Stop playing the fool: it doesn't become you"
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    The judge, by the way, was the King; and as he wore his crown over the wig (look at the frontispiece if you want to see how he did it), he did not look at all comfortable, and it was certainly not becoming.
    "It" refers either to the King's appearance, or, less likely, to the entire situation.
     

    french4beth

    Senior Member
    US-English
    cuchuflete said:
    "It" refers either to the King's appearance, or, less likely, to the entire situation.
    I would agree with cuchuflete in that 'it' refers to the overall appearance + the fact that he wore the crown over the wig.

    P.S. geve, it was an excellent question - look at all the different responses!;)
     

    geve

    Senior Member
    France, French
    Thank you all for your answers! :)
    I didn't know this meaning of "becoming", and that it could be used as a verb too, as englishman said.

    Yes, Beth, I will keep asking silly questions, since in return I always get wise and enlightening answers... that's the beauty of this forum!
     
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