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I have a question about "the like" I found in a book.

The sentence: "you who have never seen the like can scarcely imagine what delicate and wonderful flowers..."

I've seen "the more you know the less you get"

That sample I understand where THE stands before not-noun/adverb. There is "the .. the".

Also, I can uderstand when 'the like' refers to some mentioned noun(s) before in the sentence, like this: "Girls, boys and the like didn't learn their homework"

But what about "The Like" in my case? What does it refer to if does?

UPDATE: There are whole two sentences:

The idea was received with melodious applause; and presently they were all running to and fro for flowers, and laughingly flinging them upon me until I was almost smothered with blossom. You who have never seen the like can scarcely imagine what delicate and wonderful flowers countless years of culture had created.

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    "The <comparative> the <comparative>" is a red herring here. It's not related to "the like". – snailboat Dec 28 '13 at 18:44
  • I don't say it's related. That was just an example of "the" before something that is not nouns. Just to clarify/specify my question. That was rather exclusion. – ses Dec 29 '13 at 0:37
  • Oh, I see! Well, I think that like is a noun here. You should be able to find like as a noun in any large dictionary, I believe. – snailboat Dec 29 '13 at 3:50
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I think I got it. "The like" refers to previous sentence. Where some experience has been described.

Update: Previous sentence is: ".. I was almost smothered with blossom. You who have never seen the like can scarcely imagine .. " (see my question updated)

In another language I would use comma to separate this reference ("You , ..., can").. but English is punctuationally minimalistic, I guess.

Thus, in this case "the like" is synonym to "such a thing", "this/that (what was saying)", "something like this/that" .. etc. So it is a noun.

  • And what was the previous sentence? – Andrew Leach Dec 28 '13 at 18:08
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In that context, "the like" just means 'the likeness of' or 'something like'. In simple English, this...

"you who have never seen the like can scarcely imagine..."

becomes this...

"if you've never seen something like this, you can scarcely imagine..."

In the sample you provided, there's some ambiguity in whether the author is referring to the blossom in the previous sentence or the delicate and wonderful flowers that are described later in the same sentence, but as these are the same things really, it just works anyway.

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