“Oh the usual,” said Nearly Headless Nick(about Peeves), shrugging. “Wreaked havoc and mayhem. Pots and pans everywhere. Place swimming in soup. Terrified the house-elves out of their wits -”

I'm kind of confused about the phrase "Place swimming in soup" in this context. I guess it just means Peeves literally was swimming in the soup. But I'm not sure why 'place' is used. Is there any difference between "Place swimming in soup" and "swim in the soup"? What does it truly mean in this context?

1 Answer 1


The complete sentence is

[The] place [was] swimming in soup.

It's a place, wherever it is that the action happened.

We usually say something/someone is swimming in something, but here, you can understand it to mean flooded (with):

4 : to become immersed in or flooded with or as if with a liquid
// potatoes swimming in gravy

In other words, the place was flooded with soup. It's hyperbole, meaning that there was simply a lot of spilled soup throughout the place.

  • I'm wondering if It's easy for you guys to figure it out? Ive read many times, but... I thought 'place' here is a verb originally.
    – dan
    Dec 11, 2018 at 4:55
  • 2
    @dan Keep in mind that in informal speech people often dispense with the definite article. For instance: We pranked a freshman last night. Kid shat his pants.
    – Eddie Kal
    Dec 11, 2018 at 5:41

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