I’m embarrassing whenever I come across how clauses. The two meanings –– (i) used to express surprise, pleasure, etc. (ii) that, the fact that, the way that –– are especially confusing. Would you check which of the two do I have to pick up in next examples? Are there any patterns that I attend to?
- It seems like the way in 5 can be replaced by how without semantic change.
1 The Potters knew very well what he and Petunia thought aboutthem and their kind.... He couldn't see how he and Petunia could get mixed up in anything that might be going on –– he yawned and turned over –– it couldn't affect them....
–– Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, p.8
2 There was a horrible smell in the kitchen the next morning when Harry went in for breakfast. It seemed to be coming from a large metal tub in the sink. He went to have a look. The tub was full of what looked like dirty rags swimming in gray water.
"What's this?" he asked Aunt Petunia. Her lips tightened as they always did if he dared to ask a question.
"Your new school uniform," she said.
Harry looked in the bowl again.
"Oh," he said, "I didn't realize it had to be so wet."
"Don’t be stupid," snapped Aunt Petunia. "I'm dyeing some of Dudley's old things gray for you. It'll look just like everyone else's when I've finished."
Harry seriously doubted this, but thought it best not to argue. He sat down at the table and tried not to think about how he was going to look on his first day at Stonewall High -- like he was wearing bits of old elephant skin, probably.
–– Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, p.33
3 Griphook unlocked the door. A lot of green smoke came billowing out, and as it cleared, Harry gasped. Inside were mounds of gold coins. Columns of silver. Heaps of little bronze Knuts.
"All yours," smiled Hagrid.
All Harry's –– it was incredible.The Dursleys couldn't have known about this or they'd have had it from him faster than blinking. How often had they complained how much Harry cost them to keep?
–– Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, p.75
4 Then she changed her desk into a pig and back again. They were all very impressed and couldn't wait to get started, but soon realized they weren't going to be changing the furniture into animals for a long time. After taking a lot of complicated notes, they were each given a match and started trying to turn it into a needle. By the end of the lesson, only Hermione Granger had made any difference to her match; Professor McGonagall showed the class how it had gone all silver and pointy and gave Hermione a rare smile.
–– Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, p.134
5 Malfoy had been even more unpleasant than usual since the Quidditch match. Disgusted that the Slytherins had lost, he had tried to get everyone laughing at how a wide-mouthed tree frog would be replacing Harry as Seeker next. Then he'd realized that nobody found this funny, because they were all so impressed at the way Harry had managed to stay on his bucking broomstick. So Malfoy, jealous and angry, had gone back to taunting Harry about having no proper family.
–– Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, p.195
6 “There’s this real Al Capone fear that they’re going to get our guys, not on marijuana, but on something else,” Mr. Edson said, referring to how Capone was eventually charged with tax evasion rather than criminal activity. - witioanry.org
7 Ron was fascinated by the fifty pence.
"Weird!" he said, 'What a shape! This is money?"
"You can keep it," said Harry, laughing at how pleased Ron was.
–– Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, p.200
8 "So the Stone's gone?" said Ron finally. "Flamel's just going to die?"
"That's what I said, but Dumbledore thinks that –– what was it? –– 'to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.’”
"I always said he was off his rocker," said Ron, looking quite impressed at how crazy his hero was.
–– Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, p.302