"Well, we'll mange," said Mrs Weasley, but she looked worried. "I expect we'll be able to pick up a lot of Ginny's things second-hand."

I think "pick up" here means "to buy". However, Ginny's things second-hand looks odd. Maybe, second-hand, as an adjective, is used as a complement? Otherwise, I think it might be better to put it as: pick up a lot of things second-hand for Ginny. Does it make any sense?

3 Answers 3


It's an adverb here:

On the basis that something has had a previous owner.
‘tips on the pitfalls to avoid when buying second-hand’
Oxford Dictionaries

It sounds perfectly fine to me. So does your proposed rewrite, which also uses it as an adverb. It means that Mrs. Weasley will be either shopping at the wizarding Goodwill or perhaps see if she can get them from her family.

  • Do you mean "second-hand" modifies "pick up" as an adverb?
    – dan
    Oct 26, 2018 at 4:28
  • @dan Yeah that sounds right.
    – Laurel
    Oct 26, 2018 at 4:29
  • In my rewriting " pick up a lot of things second-hand for Ginny", I tried to use it as an adjective to modify things but turns out you understand it as an adverb. Interesting.:)
    – dan
    Oct 26, 2018 at 4:37
  • 1
    @dan "For Ginny" is a prepositional phrase that can be moved around or deleted from the sentence without affecting its grammaticality. If you wanted to use an adjective you'd say "secondhand things"
    – Laurel
    Oct 26, 2018 at 4:42
  • Mrs Weasely could also be shopping in a second hand shop, owned by a person that buys second had products and sells them to make a profit. Also in British English we would say a charity shop rather than goodwill.
    – Sarriesfan
    Oct 26, 2018 at 11:57

Ginny's things means "things Ginny needs" or "things for Ginny".

To pick up is an informal way of saying "purchase" or "buy".

second-hand characterizes the shopping for or the purchase of a pre-owned item.

When shopping for furniture for their rooms, university students typically shop second-hand.

The university student bought a desk and chair second-hand.

The opposite is "new":

When shopping for furniture for their rooms, university students typically do not shop new.

Few university students buy their furniture new.

Both can be used adjectivally:

The university student bought a second-hand desk and chair.

The university student wanted to buy a new desk and chair but settled for second-hand.


I might be misreading your question here but the gist of the sentence is: Mrs Weasley is worried about money but she thinks they will be OK because she thinks they will be able to buy everything they need used or second-hand.

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