pulled the door to against the increasing rain

Gabriel Aparta

Senior Member
Español - Venezuela
Hi, please, from The Great Gatsby:

With his hands still in his coat pockets he stalked by me into the hall, turned sharply as if he were on a wire, and disappeared into the living-room. It wasn’t a bit funny. Aware of the loud beating of my own heart I pulled the door to against the increasing rain.

What does that mean? It sounds like a really strange construction to my non native ears, to against. What do you guys think please?

Thanks!
 
  • Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Not "I pulled the door to against the increasing rain".
    "I pulled the door to against the increasing rain".
    The verb "pull to" is a phrasal verb, usually used separably. I pulled the door to = I closed the door (as sdg wrote in post 2).
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    The point is that it's a phrasal verb: draw the door to (almost close the door). Against the rain - to keep out the rain.

    (It does look strange, I agree. A native speaker parses the sentence correctly and, in case you are wondering, a comma would be wrong there.)

    (crossposted)

    Apparently it means "close" the door, though in my book it always means "almost close the door, but not quite".
     
    Last edited:

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Apparently it means "close" the door, though in my book it always means "almost close the door, but not quite".
    I'd be less specific. If I pull the door to the catch might not engage, so "almost closed", but it equally well might, so "closed".
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    If I'd written The Great Gatsby, it would read "I pulled the door shut against the rain" :p - unless it means that he left it open just a crack, to let in some air.

    I find a lot of Fitzgerald's English really strange.
     
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