I’m embarrassed for whoever has shouted that sentence because it was ...

ida2

Senior Member
Persian - Iran
Hi,

In the context below, the bold sentence sounds vague to me, so I can't understand its meaning clearly. I know the following context may not be enough, but can you explain the bold part?

<-----Excess quote removed by moderator (Florentia52)----->

‘It was an accident,’ Ivy says stiffly. ‘The whole thing was a terrible, unfortunate accident.’

‘How exactly does someone accidentally hook a hose to an exhaust pipe, Ivy?’

I’m embarrassed for whoever has shouted that sentence because it was inappropriately loud in the confined space of the post office. <...>

Source: A Mother's Confession, by Kelly Rimmer
 
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  • se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Somebody shouted.
    The shout was so loud that I felt embarrassed. [This may mean: ] because I felt in some way responsible for ensuring that the shouter behaved with decorum.

    Does that help?
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Well, I know what it means, as I expect you do, and it could follow on from the preceding sentence. Is the narrator listening in on two strangers' conversation and commenting on it? One of the speakers is Ivy, but the last speaker isn't named in the three sentences remaining in the quote, so I suppose the narrator might not know their name, which is why they use 'whoever'. Then there is 'shouted'. Have we already been told the people were talking loudly? If not, it seems an odd thing to introduce now.

    On the face of it, the narrator thinks the last question addressed to Ivy is embarrassing (I can't think why; perhaps they are easily embarrassed or don't approve of talking about suicide or attempted suicide, which is clearly what is being discussed). The narrator appears to be placing their own embarrassment on the speaker, something that is quite common.
     

    ida2

    Senior Member
    Persian - Iran
    Somebody shouted.
    The shout was so loud that I felt embarrassed. [This may mean: ] because I felt in some way responsible for ensuring that the shouter behaved with decorum.

    Does that help?
    Thank you. But, the sentence is still vague to me!
     

    ida2

    Senior Member
    Persian - Iran
    Well, I know what it means, as I expect you do, and it could follow on from the preceding sentence. Is the narrator listening in on two strangers' conversation and commenting on it? One of the speakers is Ivy, but the last speaker isn't named in the three sentences remaining in the quote, so I suppose the narrator might not know their name, which is why they use 'whoever'. Then there is 'shouted'. Have we already been told the people were talking loudly? If not, it seems an odd thing to introduce now.

    On the face of it, the narrator thinks the last question addressed to Ivy is embarrassing (I can't think why; perhaps they are easily embarrassed or don't approve of talking about suicide or attempted suicide, which is clearly what is being discussed). The narrator appears to be placing their own embarrassment on the speaker, something that is quite common.
    Thank you.
    The narrator knows Ivy. Ivy is her mother-in-law. The person who has committed suicide is Ivy's son and the narrator's ex-husband.
    So, what does "whoever" mean here? What does the whole sentence mean? :confused:
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Does the narrator know the person talking to Ivy? If not, then that person is the 'whoever' (a term commonly used when you don't know someone's name).

    "I'm embarrassed for whoever" is a little strange. The narrator could well be embarrassed, that would be understandable. The narrator could be embarrassed for Ivy, having her private affairs and grief discussed loudly in a public place. But instead he says he is embarrassed for the speaker, who on the face of it feels no embarrassment themselves. But people are strange when it comes to both embarrassment and suicide, and I think what it shows is that the narrator is embarrassed by the situation.
     

    ida2

    Senior Member
    Persian - Iran
    Does the narrator know the person talking to Ivy? If not, then that person is the 'whoever' (a term commonly used when you don't know someone's name).

    "I'm embarrassed for whoever" is a little strange. The narrator could well be embarrassed, that would be understandable. The narrator could be embarrassed for Ivy, having her private affairs and grief discussed loudly in a public place. But instead he says he is embarrassed for the speaker, who on the face of it feels no embarrassment themselves. But people are strange when it comes to both embarrassment and suicide, and I think what it shows is that the narrator is embarrassed by the situation.
    Thank you so much.
    The narrator knows the person talking to Ivy. Could you please paraphrase the mentioned sentence? I think I may understand it better this way. Thanks.
    I’m embarrassed for whoever has shouted that sentence because it was inappropriately loud in the confined space of the post office.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Now I'm stumped. I cannot think why the narrator would say 'whoever' when they knew the person speaking. So I wonder if the narrator's 'I'm embarrassed...' sentence refers back to something that happened earlier. That might also make more sense of 'shouted' since, so far as I can tell, no one is shouting anything here. Had something been shouted in a post office earlier in the story? And the present perfect 'has shouted' is odd too.

    A paraphrase: Someone shouted something in a post office which I think is embarrassing to them, and that makes me embarrassed too.
     
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