It says " If he was glaring at me, I would skip Biology, Like the coward I was." why not use " Like a coward " ?

  • 1
    The subject of the sentence is not just behaving like a coward this once; they acknowledge that they are a coward and are behaving in a typical manner. Oct 25, 2018 at 8:06
  • @KateBunting Yes. And worth pointing out that this is a well-understood and oft-used idiom. Someone behaved/said/showed/etc "like the coward/hero/clever girl/etc. she was".
    – WS2
    Oct 25, 2018 at 8:26

1 Answer 1

  • Like the coward I was.

This means he was a specific coward, not just a randomly chosen one.

One of the ways we define a noun is by considering it a normal property of another noun or concept. For example, we say 'the sun' because our sun is a normal property of our world. There are many other suns out there in the universe, but this one we are referring to is a normal property of our life on this planet.

What the example given does is to make 'coward' a normal property of the person, which is a much more powerful statement than merely applying the state 'a coward', because 'a/an' means 'one of a group, where the choice of which one is immaterial'.

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