he had entertained hopes (Pride and Prejudice)

Annikerson

New Member
Chinese
In chapter 3 of Pride and Prejudice, there is a sentence 'He had entertained hopes of being admitted to a sight of the young ladies, of whose beauty he had heard much; but he saw only the father.' I get two questions here. Firstly, why 'entertained', instead of entertaining, is used here. <Second question removed. Nat>
 
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  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Check the meaning of the verb 'to entertain'. Definition 3
    entertain - WordReference.com Dictionary of English

    The phrase sounds to me quaint and somewhat dated. Elegant English, no doubt. :)
    Clue: the source is Pride and Prejudice. Very elegant from start to finish :)

    I’m not sure it’s totally gone from contemporary speech though. I can certainly imagine myself using it. I’m rarely accused of elegance, though I might be quaint (and getting dated :D)
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    This use of entertain is well and alive, I think. And in the negative, it's used a lot in official announcements (Late submissions will not be entertained).
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Oh, sure, I use it too when I talk with humorous formality. Official announcements - well, yes, I have written some of those as well - incomplete applications will not be entertained. :)

    A fellow once came asking for financial assistance. He had come to the wrong place altogether, so I told him 'We cannot entertain that request because you are from a foreign country', to which he replied 'I am not asking you to entertain me. I am asking you to help me!' :D
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    A fellow once came asking for financial assistance. He had come to the wrong place altogether, so I told him 'We cannot entertain that request because you are from a foreign country', to which he replied 'I am not asking you to entertain me. I am asking you to help me!' :D
    :D:D And there you see how the use arose. It's the request that is not entertained, not the requester. And so the request is personified, like hope, idea, notion (as mentioned by veli). You can entertain other personified things too: I can imagine a preacher asking, 'Do you entertain sin/evil?'
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    I would use it is everyday situations, not humorous formality (which is a great way to describe something I often do, by the way).

    I turn to it when I’m annoyed, for instance if someone seems presumptuous:
    He needn’t entertain any idea that I’ll be doing that job for him.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    < Side comment removed. Cagey, moderator >
    Firstly, why 'entertained', instead of entertaining, is used here.
    "He had entertained hopes of being admitted ..."
    Because the tense used is the past perfect and "entertained" is the past participle.
     
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    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    < Quote of deleted comment removed. Cagey, moderator >

    I think boozer did that in #2, when he pointed out that it's a verb. I think the OP assumed it was meant to be an adjective: "entertaining hopes" (noun phrase):).
     
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