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"I didn't want anyone to talk to me," said Harry, who was feeling more and more nettled.

"Well, that was a bit stupid of you," said Ginny angrily, "seeing as you don't know anyone but me who's been possessed by You-Know-Who, and I can tell you how it feels."

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

I don't quite get the meaning "seeing as you don't know anyone but me" in this context. Probably, the phrase "seeing as" confuses me. How should we understand it here?

  • It might help to understand seeing here as preceded by an implied but unstated since I / you / we are [seeing] - another way of saying because I / you / we / everyone / etc. can see that [blah blah]. And but here is just a (today, somewhat affected / mock-archaic) alternative to except. – FumbleFingers Mar 6 at 14:56
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    ...getting more finely-nuanced, you might wish to note that seeing as / that X is actually closer to bearing X in mind, taking account of X rather than simply because [of] X. – FumbleFingers Mar 6 at 15:02
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The phrase "seeing as" is a way of introducing a fact. The sentence could have used other words that convey the same idea, e.g.:

considering that you don't know anyone but me

It just means that Ginny is explaining why Harry was stupid for not talking to her.

As for the "anyone but me" part, that is Ginny's way of saying that she is the only person that Harry knows who has had this experience. She is saying that Harry doesn't know anyone who could help him here except for her. She can help him because she has also been possessed by Voldemort before.

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It is essentially the same as "given that". It introduces some fact that is essential to a question or situation. Sometimes this is the same as giving a reason, as it is here - the reason that it was stupid of Harry not to talk to Ginny is that she had experienced being possessed by Voldemort. Given that she had experienced that, and could thus tell him what it felt like, he should have spoken to her if he was worried that that was happening.

Ginny is stating the fact that she is the only person Harry knows who has been possessed by Voldemort, and that he is therefore stupid for not talking to her about it.

  • Thanks! But I still not quite sure how to understand "you don't know anyone but me". How can we get it to make sense for the context? Is it like saying "you only knows me who have experienced being possessed by Voldemort"? – dan Mar 6 at 13:23
  • "You don't know anyone but me who's been possessed by You-Know-Who." She's the only person he knows who has been possessed by You-Know-Who. It could be rephrased "you don't know anyone who's been possessed by You-Know-Who, other than me". – SamBC Mar 6 at 14:07
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    Or, to rephrase it without the negative modifiers, "Out of all the people you know, I am the only one who has been possessed by You-Know-Who." – Hellion Mar 6 at 14:35
  • Well-put, @Hellion, thank you. – SamBC Mar 6 at 14:47
  • Edited to add a clearer final summary. – SamBC Mar 6 at 14:48
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"Seeing as" is a synonymous phrase of "Because".

Your example can also be interpreted as

"Well, that was a bit stupid of you," said Ginny angrily, "because, you don't know anyone but me who's been possessed by You-Know-Who, and I can tell you how it feels."

  • I'm still unclear what the whole sentence is trying to convey. Can you explain a bit more? – dan Mar 6 at 12:26
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    Welcome to ELL. I would say it's not quite the same as "because", more like "given that". The difference is subtle, though - you wouldn't use "because" in the situations (especially questions) that you would use "seeing as" or "given that". – SamBC Mar 6 at 12:44
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"A, seeing as B" means "seeing B shows why A is true". "but" means "except". We can also move the "but me" around, giving "you don't know anyone who's been possessed by You-Know-Who except me, and that shows you not wanting to talk to me to be stupid" or "other than me, you don't know anyone who's been possessed by You-Know-Who". The "but me" isn't separate from "who's been possessed by You-Know-Who"; Ginny is saying she is the only person that Harry knows AND who has been possessed by You-Know-Who.

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