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Edit: Supplemented "through" in the title. I tried an intermediate summary after the original questions.

  1. It seems that "all I had to see me" simply means "all I had", or "all that was available for me". Am I right? Edit: I saw a sentence like "[In the desert] the muddy, brown water was all we had to see us through the next few days."

  2. By web search, I find this phrase is almost always followed by "through". This "through" is sometimes a preposition, like "through the week", but it can also be an adverb, i.e., followed by nothing. (If the period is obvious?) I also found an example of "along" instead of "through". Any comments?

  3. How would a dictionary give the entry? I mean the last pronoun. "Verb + oneself" (reflective) is common, but in this case, it's not oneself. And under which word is it listed?

  4. Is it possible to analyze the phrase? My impression is this "have" is similar to let, make, etc, not "have to", but it's yet peculiar; all such uses I know are in the form "have him help them" and "have it stolen". "See" here means "encounter?"

  5. Web search shows only several cases for each combitation of the subject and the tense. Is this expression so rare? (But it certainly is in use.)

Thanks beforehand.

Edit: In fact, "see someone through" was what I should ask. I overlooked it in dictionaries, being distracted by the nearby "see through so/sth", which I'm familiar with. Thanks a lot, Frank and Håkan Lindqvist, for giving aids to my ambiguous question.

As suggested by the answers, if _someone_ sees another through a period, they give support during difficulty.

But (Am I right?) if there's _something_ to see you through, you've got it to live with, but the emphasis is on how much. So it's likely to be used like: "I only had something to see me through" or "there was enough to see us through". In the former, you can at least survive, but you probably want more of it.

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    Context, please! “All I had to see me” is not meaningful on its own. What sentence are you thinking about? Jun 15, 2014 at 10:16

2 Answers 2

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see me through in this sense means sufficient or sufficient to provide.

Often you'll find ...enough to see me through ...

Forty cans of beer is enough to see me through to the end of the week

meaning I have enough beer to last until the end of the week.

To use it without the extra bit at the end the period or event that I have to 'see through' should be known already.

Have you got enough beer for the match tonight?

Yeah, ten cans will see me through.

There is an example here and some explanation that may help. It's not the easiest term to find on the internet, don't mix it up with see [right] through me.

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  • Okay, I've got it. Thank you very much. I tried to give better description after the original question, and I wonder if you could review it. Jun 16, 2014 at 7:23
  • @teikakazura That's right, to see someone through is to provide them with things they need; it might be money, food or support or anything else and usually it means just enough rather than too much.
    – Frank
    Jun 16, 2014 at 7:29
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Regarding 3. (how one would find this in a dictionary) specifically you will typically find it either under "see" or under "see through" as an entry of its own.

Examples:

"see" at Dictionary.com has a note on the "see through" use of the word

see through

b. to stay with to the end or until completion; persevere: to see a difficult situation through.

"see" in Webster's 1913 edition has

see

  1. To accompany in person; to escort; to wait upon; as, to see one home; to see one aboard the cars. God you (him, ∨ me, etc.) see, God keep you (him, me, etc.) in his sight; God protect you. [Obs.] Chaucer. -- To see (anything) out, to see (it) to the end; to be present at, or attend, to the end. -- To see stars, to see flashes of light, like stars; -- sometimes the result of concussion of the head. [Colloq.] -- To see (one) through, to help, watch, or guard (one) to the end of a course or an undertaking.

"see through" in Wordnet has

S: (v) see through (support financially through a period of time) "The scholarship saw me through college"; "This money will see me through next month"

...

S: (v) see through (remain with until completion) "I must see the job through"

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  • It's interesting that it was described colloquial in 1913 Webster. Thanks for taking time to spot likely definitions. Now I think I understand it. Jun 16, 2014 at 7:31

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