What does this sentence mean? I can't seem to make sense of it grammatically:

But no man's charm is so practiced who knows himself well.

  • 2
    It's an attempt (grammatical but very awkward) to improve ??But no man who knows himself well's charm is so practiced. Unpacked, it means that if a man knows himself well (whatever that means), then his charm will not be so practiced (whatever that means). Your guess is as good as mine about context, truth, or utility. The rule here is known as "Extraposition from Noun Phrase". – John Lawler Jun 14 at 21:57
  • It would be both interesting and useful to know the origin of the quotation. – Nigel J Jun 14 at 23:09
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    Nigel J - a Google exact text search (using quotes) reveals that it is scripted dialogue from a 2017 episode titled "Thief" of a US TV series "12 Monkeys". The words are spoken by a character called Eliza, whom the scriptwriters seem to wish to appear somewhat learned. – Michael Harvey Jun 15 at 7:46
  • That is some cringeworthy dialogue. I wouldn't be surprised if the writer intended to say but no man's charm is so practiced as he who knows himself well. – user339660 Jun 16 at 2:06
  • Michael is correct. The writer intended it to sound old, as this dialogue takes place in the past (19th century maybe?). – Cleroth Jun 17 at 9:28

But no man's charm is so practiced who knows himself well.

Interesting quote (from where?) but I am willing to take a shot at it.

I would rewrite it as:

But no man's charm is so practiced (as he) who knows himself well.

In other words,

No one has such a practiced charm as...

...someone who knows themself well.

See: https://www.yourdictionary.com/extrapersonal

  • I think it means the opposite - you're putting in words so that it means something more plausible, but I think we should assume it means what it says until we have enough context to decide whether there really are missing words. – user339660 Jun 15 at 2:52
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    +1 I agree with this answer. There is no charm so practised as [the charm from somebody] who knows himself well. Or, to paraphrase, the more you know yourself, the more practised is your charm. Which actually makes sense. The more you practise and are aware of yourself, the more natural you can be with other people. (Just ask any actor, politician, teacher, or business executive.) – Jason Bassford Jun 15 at 6:55

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