2

"Yeah, I know," said Angelina, pulling out her wand and flexing her arm. "But she's pretty good, actually. Nothing on you, of course," she said, throwing him a very dirty look, "but as we can't have you ..."

Harry bit back the retort he was longing to utter: Did she imagine for a second that he did not regret his expulsion from the team a hundred times more than she did?

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

I'm not sure if I got that sentence in bold correct. Did Harry think she should have imagined that he did not regret his expulsion or something? How should we understand it? What does it try to convey?

3

It's a complex sentence, so let's pull it apart.

Did she imagine ... that ...

This is the focus of the question. It is asking, rhetorically, if Angelina is imagining something. The "for a second" is a figure of speech, amounting to asking if she thought it was possible, rather than literally asking if she were imagining it.

... that he did not regret his expulsion from the team ...

This is what the sentence considers that Angelina might be imagining - that he did not regret his expulsion.

... a hundred times more than she did?

Again, a figure of speech. We can't quantify regret. This just means the regret (that she is hypothetically imagining he not feel) is much greater than her regret.

As a whole, it is a reaction to the fact that she acts as though he's acted to please himself without regard for the effects on other people, and the whole "did she imagine that he did not" is a way of expressing that, in fact, he regrets his expulsion from the team much more than she regrets it.

  • Oops, missed a pronoun... fixed now. – SamBC Feb 26 at 11:29
  • Thanks! Is this structure "Did she imagine ... that ..." a common rhetorical device? – dan Feb 26 at 11:33
  • Absolutely. It is a way of expressing both disbelief that they might think whatever, and that they would be wrong to think so. – SamBC Feb 26 at 11:47
  • Ok, so Harry thinks it's wrong for Angelina to think that he did not regret his expulsion from the team a hundred times more than she did. Is that correct? – dan Feb 26 at 11:50
  • 1
    Yes. It also indicates that he thinks her behaviour shows that she does think something like that. – SamBC Feb 26 at 11:58

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