"To business, Harry," said Riddle, still smiling broadly. "Twice -- in your past, in my future -- we have met. And twice I failed to kill you. How did you survive? Tell me everything. The longer you talk," He added softly, "the longer you stay alive."

I don't know what "To business" is supposed to mean in this context, since there are many meanings for the word 'business'. Is it a common phrase?

What does it exactly mean?

-- From Harry Potter.

  • It a very common usage that means Let us now turn our attention to business [matters]. Note that "business" here often has no connection to commercial activity. It just means "important things", in contexts where the preceding conversation has mainly been just the polite exchange of pleasantries. Commented Nov 7, 2018 at 14:43

1 Answer 1


It's an elision of some longer phrase such as let's get to/get down to business, or now let's move on to business.

What he means is: we should begin doing the important thing that we're supposed to do. The implication is that something else was being done, or in this case, being discussed, but now the speaker wants to stop discussing that other thing and begin discussing a more important matter.

Sure enough, look what we find just above your quotation:

‘And that –’ said Riddle, now eyeing the ragged thing that Fawkes had dropped, ‘that’s the old school Sorting Hat.’...‘This is what Dumbledore sends his defender! A songbird and an old hat! Do you feel brave, Harry Potter? Do you feel safe now?’

Riddle was discussing the phoenix and the Sorting Hat, then he decides that he wants to begin discussing the more important topic of how Harry survived his attacks.


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