They're <not anything like so naughty>

< Previous | Next >

park sang joon

Senior Member
The protagonist, Philip was invited to a hop-field at Ferne by his middle aged friend Athenly, where the Athenlys goes every autumn, and he came to the hut Athenly rented.
The next early morning, Philip and Athenly's children went for a bath to a brook, with Athenly's eldest daughter Sally being a guardian

The bathe was uproarious, and it was necessary for Sally to be very severe to induce them all to come out.
"You're as bad as any of them," she said to Philip, in her grave, maternal way, which was at once comic and touching. "They're not anything like so naughty when you're not here."
[Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham]
I'd like to know why it is "anything like so naughty," not "anything like so naughty children."
Thank you in advance for your help.
  • VicNicSor

    "Anything like" = "at all": They're not at all so naughty ...

    In other words, "naughty" is predicative here, modifying "they".


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Increasing degrees of not being naughty:

    They're not so naughty (as this) when you're not here.
    They're not nearly so naughty when you're not here.
    They're not anything like so naughty/nothing like as naughty when you're not here.
    < Previous | Next >