1

I don't quite understand the grammar for drinking all of you that they could. And the meaning of the whole sentence is not quite clear to me either.

They treated you as if they were never going to see you again, drinking all of you that they could.

Update with more context:

Do you remember the night of my first high school party? You were there. My friends were intrigued by you. They treated you as if they were never going to see you again, drinking all of you that they could. I spent two hours that night helping my friends who had fallen completely. “I‟m so embarrassed,” they said as I held their hair back so that they could vomit. “I‟m sorry,” they said when I called taxies for them, walking them out and paying the driver in advance. “This won‟t happen again,” they said as they were sent to the hospital to have their stomachs pumped. Two 15-year-old girls slept in hospital beds that night thanks to you.

  • I think it must be a bad metaphor of some kind. I don't entirely understand it, either. There is an idiom: "drink up." If you drink up all you can of something, then you try to take it in as fast as you possibly can. Was there an "up" in this quote that you left out? – joiedevivre Dec 22 '17 at 9:36
  • @joiedevivre, actually no, the sentence is from a College Entrance Examination. – dan Dec 22 '17 at 9:40
  • It's weird without "up." It sounds a bit cannibalistic. Don't go to that college! (It could just be a typo, though.) – joiedevivre Dec 22 '17 at 9:42
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It's metaphorical. The "you" that the paragraph is referring to is some form of alcoholic beverage, who the author is addressing as though it was a person.

  • 1
    On the contrary, it's literal! – Colin Fine Dec 22 '17 at 11:56
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There is ellipsis of the verb drink after could:

... drinking all of you that they could [drink]

The phrase all of you that they could means "as much of you as they were able [to drink]".

As nick012000 says, "you" is the alcohol being addressed as if it were a person. This rhetorical device is called "apostrophe".

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