I don't know how to articulate my question accurately. Here is the sentence that makes me wonder:

  • His sense of her inferiority—of its being a degradation—of the family obstacles which judgement had always opposed to inclination
    (Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice).

Austen is not explicitly saying "his judgement" so it could refer to judgement in the larger sense because of the absence of "his". I want to know the term for the thing that Austen leaves out.

  • This question on ELL is relevant.
    – Stuart F
    Feb 13, 2023 at 16:03
  • 3
    Incidentally, that's not a sentence. It's a noun phrase, mostly devoted to listing his feelings. Feb 13, 2023 at 16:08
  • There is nothing left out: family obstacles come from judgement (being judgmental) not from an individual's inclination. This doesn't have a name in grammar.
    – Lambie
    Feb 13, 2023 at 19:12

2 Answers 2


Extracting the relative clause into a separate sentence and removing the somewhat obscure sense of "oppose," we get:

Judgment had always set the family obstacles in opposition to inclination.

I don't know the context, but I'm not sure if Austen is actually referring solely to his judgment. It sounds like she means that the family obstacles had opposed inclination in general, not just for him but for everyone (in the family) who has ever faced them. That would explain both the use of "always" and the absence of "his."


Here, judgement is an abstract noun

From Google:

abstract noun (noun)

a noun denoting an idea, quality, or state rather than a concrete object, e.g. truth, danger, happiness.

"the website contains considerably more abstract nouns than hard facts"

  • Isn't it still an abstract noun if you use a pronoun ("his judgement")?
    – Laurel
    Feb 13, 2023 at 17:21
  • I suppose it becomes an abstract noun-phrase.
    – Greybeard
    Feb 13, 2023 at 18:24

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