Walter thought she was wonderful the way she was (1). Whatever she did, he marveled. If she espoused extreme points of view, he was impressed by her arguments; when she shocked society by helping unmarried mothers and their children, he admired her courage; and he loved the way she looked in daring fashions (2).
(Ken Follett, Fall of Giants)

It seems like the second the way phrase is the complement of ‘loved’ (or the object). But the first is not that easy. It seems to be an adverbial or a predicative for ‘she’. How do I understand the first the way phrase?

  • 2
    It might help to note that the first instance could credibly be replaced by as (or somewhat less credibly, by how). Whereas the second instance could definitely be replaced by how (idiomatically, as wouldn't work there). Sep 24, 2013 at 3:18

2 Answers 2


The phrase the way in both instance means the manner.

In the first instance, it is an adverbial phrase modifying the adjective wonderful (which is a predicate adjective modifying she). It could also be expressed

wonderful [in] the way she was.

The way and what follows explains why she is wonderful.

The second instance is a direct object

He (subject) loved (verb) way (direct object)

The way and what follows is what he loves. There is an implied that following way beginning an adjectival clause defining way.


The word way means literally a track or a road. But it can also be used metaphorically to mean a particular style or state of being. Just like you can walk to the same place by different roads or ways, you can look and behave in different ways. For example, she could look many different ways, she could dress well or badly, she could look beautiful or not, have bad breath or swear like a sailor, but he liked her anyway, the way she was.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.