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Best man, barely Options
Penz
Posted: Thursday, July 22, 2021 7:49:03 AM

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All these excerpts are taken from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Quote:
Black was best man when James married Lily. Then they named him godfather to Harry.

We say "the best man" or "a best man" ?
It is countable as well.
Same with "godfather"?


Quote:
And then barely a week after the Fidelius Charm had been performed.

Does "barely" mean "promptly after a week" or "just before the end of a week"?

Quote:
He did indeed. Black was tired of his double-agent role, he was ready to declare his support openly for You-Know-Who, and he seems to have planned this for the moment of the Potters' death.

They were talking in past tense. Then why "seems to have" as it had already happened?


Quote:
I COMFORTED THE MURDERIN' TRAITOR!' Hagrid roared.

MURDERING?


Quote:
Pettigrew... that fat little boy who was always tagging around them at Hogwarts.

Does "tagging" mean "follow the lead of someone" or "follow without being invited"?


Quote:
Never quite in their league, talent-wise. I was often rather sharp with him.

Does "never quite" mean "not completely" or "completely opposite"?

Does "be sharp" mean "critical or hurtful"?


Quote:
I'd've ripped him limb-from-limb.

What exactly does "from" mean here?



Quote:
I was Junior Minister in the Department of Magical Catastrophes at the time.

Why not "the minister" assuming it is uncountable?
Quote:

"A crater in the middle of the street, so deep it had cracked the sewer below."

What's the difference between a sewer and gutter?


Quote:
'Well, there you have it, Rosmerta,' said Fudge thickly. 'Black was taken away by twenty members of the Magical Law Enforcement Patrol....

Does "there you have it" here is used to show "the simplicity of a situation"?


Quote:
There was a small chink of glass on wood.


There were many glasses so why not "chinks of.." or "chink of glasses"?


I would be immensely grateful for your answers.
Thank you
tautophile
Posted: Thursday, July 22, 2021 2:41:03 PM
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1. Black was best man when James married Lily. Then they named him godfather to Harry.

The "best man" at a wedding is the groom's chief attendant, the equivalent of the bride's "maid of honor" or "matron of honor", the chief of her bridesmaids. So Black acted as best man for James when James married Lily, and later acted as godfather when Harry was baptized. JKR's sentences are fine, though "the best man" and "a godfather" (one can have more than one godfather) would also have been acceptable.


2. And then barely a week after the Fidelius Charm had been performed.

"Barely a week after" here means "just over a week--eight or maybe nine days--after" the event.


3. He did indeed. Black was tired of his double-agent role, he was ready to declare his support openly for You-Know-Who, and he seems to have planned this for the moment of the Potters' death.

If this is a piece of dialog, then the person speaking it is stating his/her opinion that Black had planned to make his declaration of support at the moment of Potter's death. If it is a description, the author is telling us more or less the same thing, but describing Black's state of mind from the point of view of an omniscient narrator.


4. "I COMFORTED THE MURDERIN' TRAITOR!' Hagrid roared."

This is an exaggerated exclamation by Hagrid; it doesn't mean that murder was committed. Hagrid was very angry and spoke violently.


5. Pettigrew... that fat little boy who was always tagging around them at Hogwarts.

I would understand "tagging around" to mean "following around without being invited" to do so.


6. Never quite in their league, talent-wise. I was often rather sharp with him.

"Never quite in their league, talent-wise" means "not as talented as 'they' are". To "be sharp with someone" means "to criticize" that person, and it can mean "be hurtful when expressing criticism"?


7, I'd've ripped him limb-from-limb.

I would have written "limb from limb", without the hyphens. It means "rip apart, tear the limbs off someone or something". It's an idiomatic phrase, usually a threat and not an actual occurrence.


8. I was Junior Minister in the Department of Magical Catastrophes at the time.

You don't need the "the" before "Junior Minister"


9. "A crater in the middle of the street, so deep it had cracked the sewer below."

We think of a sewer these days as a pipe or tunnel underground through which waste water flows. A gutter is either (a) a trough, nowadays often of metal, at the eaves of a roof that carries off rainwater--the chief US usage--or (b) a channel at the edge of a road or street that carries off rainwater. The crater in the sentence cause a break in a sewer pipe under the street.

10. 'Well, there you have it, Rosmerta,' said Fudge thickly. 'Black was taken away by twenty members of the Magical Law Enforcement Patrol....

Does "there you have it" here is used to show "the simplicity of a situation"? No, it's merely an introduction, meaning "this is the situation"; it does not refer to simplicity etc.

11. "There was a small chink of glass on wood."

I would understand this to mean "a (single) small piece of broken glass". It would not refer to glasses either as spectacles (such as Harry wore) or as things to drink from.
Sarrriesfan
Posted: Thursday, July 22, 2021 2:52:44 PM

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I agree with tautophile apart from the last part, there isn’t enough context included for them to give the right answer though.

“There was a small chink of glass on wood. Someone had set their glass down.”

Several of the books adult characters are having drinks, whilst holding a conversation. The chink of glass on wood is the sound made by a glass being set down onto a wooden surface such as a table.
tautophile
Posted: Thursday, July 22, 2021 5:36:35 PM
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The last sentence would've been clearer if, instead of "chink of glass on wood", it had been "...a small clink of (a or the) glass on wood (or the wooden table)". Thanks, Sarrriesfan.
thar
Posted: Thursday, July 22, 2021 5:44:40 PM

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No, that is how it is expressed- the thwack of willow on leather (=cricket), a loud thud of metal on metal (a car crash). The noise of one material against another. The material, not the item.
Penz
Posted: Friday, July 23, 2021 12:26:04 AM

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Thank you.
Though,
1) Even the "best man" is uncountable, there is only one , then why not use "the" with it.

2) Why not "a/the Junior Minister"?

3) Like "Murdering", are there more exclamation where we just transform the noun into verb+ing?

4) Limb-from-limb
I knew what it meant. However what exactly does "from" mean here..its defintion?

Sorry for bugging you all, however I desperately want to know.

Thank you all.
Sarrriesfan
Posted: Friday, July 23, 2021 1:29:17 AM

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Joined: 3/30/2016
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Location: Luton, England, United Kingdom
Penz wrote:
Thank you.
Though,
1) Even the "best man" is uncountable, there is only one , then why not use "the" with it.

2) Why not "a/the Junior Minister"?
The answer is the same for both, because they don’t need an article.

3) Like "Murdering", are there more exclamation where we just transform the noun into verb+ing?
Yes, unfortunately at the moment the only ones that come to mind are indelicate.

4) Limb-from-limb
I knew what it meant. However what exactly does "from" mean here..its defintion?
The sets of limbs start together in one place and are torn apart, away from each other.
Sorry for bugging you all, however I desperately want to know.

Thank you all.
Penz
Posted: Friday, July 23, 2021 2:28:40 AM

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Thank you. Though, I have seen examples in oxford dictionaries that says "a/the best man/junior minister". Apparently every one.
Sarrriesfan
Posted: Friday, July 23, 2021 2:49:48 AM

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Location: Luton, England, United Kingdom
Penz wrote:
Thank you. Though, I have seen examples in oxford dictionaries that says "a/the best man/junior minister". Apparently every one.


They can have an article if the writer wishes or they may not, it’s a choice.
Penz
Posted: Friday, July 23, 2021 3:02:18 AM

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I am deeply sorry for bugging you, I really am.
But there must be some grammatical grounds that determine why we can use them both?
Audiendus
Posted: Friday, July 23, 2021 3:06:10 AM
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Penz wrote:
Thank you. Though, I have seen examples in oxford dictionaries that says "a/the best man/junior minister". Apparently every one.

When a noun or noun phrase acts like a title, the article can optionally be omitted, e.g:

It was when Trump was president.
or
It was when Trump was the president.

He wanted to be chairman of the company.
or
He wanted to be the chairman of the company.

They have made her team leader.
or
They have made her the team leader.
Penz
Posted: Friday, July 23, 2021 3:46:19 AM

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Joined: 2/26/2021
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Thank you so much.
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