It was perfectly delightful to behold <with what enthusiasm> Mr. Peggotty became inspired

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park sang joon

Senior Member
The narrator recalls his childhood, now of his early time in Salem House, the boarding school near London.
One day, he has visitors, Mr. Peggotty, the elder brother of Peggotty, the only maid of his house and her nephew Ham whose father was drowned to death.
The protagonist had stayed their place with Pegotty for several days.

It was perfectly delightful to behold with what enthusiasm Mr. Peggotty became inspired when he thought of his little favorourite. He stands before me again, his bluff hairy face irradiating with a joyful love and pride for which I can which I can find no description.
[David Copperfield by Charles Dickens]
I think "what" means "some" here.
So I was wondering if I can use "what" as a general adjective.
Thank you in advance for your help.
  • natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Theoretically what enthusiasm could refer to any level of enthusiasm,.

    If you have a sentence like, 'I saw what enthusiasm John had', this just means I saw how much enthusiasm John had. It could be a lot. It could be a little. Usually though this construction is associated with a high degree of the thing. We might even just say, 'What enthusiasm!' to mean 'How very enthusiastic!' This is how I would interpret Dickens's sentence. The context (David Copperfield was delighted, we are told) indicates that Mr Peggotty must have been very enthusiastic.

    park sang joon

    Senior Member
    Thank you, natkretep, for your so very helpful answer. :)
    Now I see very well what "what" means here.
    But, I think "what" is used as an adjective in an adverbial phrase.
    So I was wondering if I can use "what" as such a role.
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