How the devil are they going to finance all this rubbish?

latenight

Member
Chinese
"Martin Hutchinson writes: As I watch the $900 billion stimulus bill wind its way through Congress, knowing this will be piled atop the estimated 2009 deficit of $1.19 trillion, the longtime banker in me keeps asking the same worrisome question: How (the devil) are they going to finance all this rubbish?"

In the sentence - How (the devil) are they going to finance all this rubbish? - what is "the devil" referring to?

 
  • Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    It's an expletive similar to "how on earth?", "how the hell?", etc. Have a look at these posts on "what on earth" and "what the devil".

    In your sentence it means "in what possible way?"; it expresses disbelief that such a thing is possible.
     

    xqby

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    Here "the devil" is just an intensifier; I don't think it's "referring" to anything.
    You could omit it entirely, or change it to another similar phrase like "How the hell are they..."
     
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