He's old enough to be your father, just, but he's...

lilly jo

Senior Member
Brazilian Portuguese
Hi everbody.

I read this sentence in Jemisin's The Fifth Season and I'm a little lost. I've never seen this usage of "just" between commas before. What does the word "just" mean in this context? Is this usage common? Here is the entire sentence: "He's old enough to be your father, just, but he's the least paternal man you've ever met."


Thank you,
L.J.
 
  • pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    "Just barely." He's old enough to be your father, but not any older. The "just" is set off for emphasis; the usual structure would be "He's just old enough . . . "
     

    lilly jo

    Senior Member
    Brazilian Portuguese
    ok, so there's no difference in meaning, it's (just!) a question of emphasis. Thank you, pob14.
     

    Pavel+

    New Member
    Czech - Czech Republic
    the use just illustrates that it is "just barely", as said above, and the commas are simply necessary for proper punctuation. I'd be interested to know what the whole sentence was.
     

    lilly jo

    Senior Member
    Brazilian Portuguese
    Thank you, Pavel. Actually, this fragment is in the very beginning of a paragraph: "Rask’s face twitches. He’s old enough to be your father, just, but he’s the least paternal man you’ve ever met. You’ve always wanted to sit down somewhere and have a beer with him, even though that doesn’t fit the ordinary, meek camouflage you’ve built around yourself. Most of the people in town think of him that way, despite the fact that as far as you know he doesn’t drink. The look that comes into his face in this moment, however, makes you think for the first time that he would make a good father, if he ever had children."
     
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