I have this sentence below, which I could not understand the meaning behind it.

"I had to acknowledge that without having made a fortune I had not had to undergo the rigours of captivity. "

Could someone please paraphrase the sentence in a simplified manner? and try to give an example of a sentence with a similar structure.

Note: the sentence is from a translated novel.

  • 1
    "I had to acknowledge that, although I had not made a fortune, neither had I had to undergo the rigours of captivity." / Your first sentence ('I have this ...') is a marvellous example of a Ross constraint violation. Aug 31 '17 at 14:21
  • @EdwinAshworth I am not a native speaker nor an expert of the English language. Could please elaborate how I violated Ross constraint? Honestly, this is the first time I hear of Ross constraint.
    – Omranovic
    Aug 31 '17 at 16:45
  • 1
    You can look up 'Ross constraint'; it's been covered before. Correct alternatives are 'I came across this sentence, whose meaning I could not understand.' and 'I came across this sentence; I could not understand its meaning.' Aug 31 '17 at 17:37

This is much easier to unpack if you know the context: the narrator, Leo, is speaking with an old friend, ‘Abbad who has just explained how he gained wealth despite having been captured and enslaved:

A merchant bought me, whom I served loyally, giving him all sorts of advice, enabling him to profit from my experience of the Mediterranean. In that way he made so much money that he set me free at the end of the first year and made me a partner in his business.
  — Amin Maalouf, Leo Africanus

Leo explains why he is happy in Rome by contrasting his own experience with ‘Abbad’s: unlike ‘Abbad he has not made a fortune, but also unlike ‘Abbad he has not experienced being enslaved.

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