'Suppose that a man,' so his thoughts ran, 'who had been of age some twenty years or so; who was a diffident man, from the circumstances of his youth; who was rather a grave man, from the tenor of his life; who knew himself to be deficient in many little engaging qualities which he admired in others, from having been long in a distant region, with nothing softening near him; who had no kind sisters to present to her; who had no congenial home to make her known in; who was a stranger in the land; who had not a fortune to compensate, in any measure, for these defects; who had nothing in his favour but his honest love and his general wish to do right--suppose such a man were to come to this house, and were to yield to the captivation of this charming girl, and were to persuade himself that he could hope to win her; what a weakness it would be!'

(Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens, Chapter 16)

What does the phrase "who had no congenial home to make her known in" mean from the above passage? Why is "in" used after known? Is "in" a preposition or adverbial particle in the above phrase?

  • 1
    More context would have helped! In refers to home - the subject 'had no pleasant home in which to make her known'. Commented May 9, 2022 at 7:36
  • Please link to the specific passage.
    – Xanne
    Commented May 9, 2022 at 7:40
  • Third-from-last paragraph of Chapter 16. I agree with Kate Bunting. And it might also imply he has no close relatives to introduce to her. Commented May 9, 2022 at 10:22
  • To make someone known in a congenial home.
    – Lambie
    Commented May 9, 2022 at 15:35
  • To be known by whom? Family members?It is a very roundabout way of saying that he did not have a home to welcome her into.
    – anjan
    Commented May 10, 2022 at 2:47

1 Answer 1


The entire phrase is a relative clause:

who had no congenial home to make her known in

The subject is "who", the simple predicate is "had", and the direct object is "no congenial home".

The direct object is itself modified by an infnitive phrase (or "reduced relative clause"). It is equivalent to "in which to make her known". In certain situations, we can delete the relative pronoun and postpone the preposition. (This has been discussed elsewhere on this site, such as When do you leave out the preposition in a relative clause?) That is what has happened here, resulting in "to make her known in".

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