She used to come for Christmas every year, then, Thank God, she took offence because Fred and George set off a Dungbomb under her chair at dinner. Dad always says she'll have written them out of her will - like they care, they're going to end up richer than anyone in the family, rate they're going ... wow," he added, blinking rather rapidly as Hermione came hurrying towards them.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

What does "rate they're going" mean in this context? Isn't it missing 'the', "the rate they're going"?

  • Articles such as 'the' are often omitted in casual or informal speech. Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 11:03
  • 2
    "at the rate they're going..." would be the complete and correct way to say it. But as @MichaelHarvey said, some words are dropped in casual speech. Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 11:41

1 Answer 1


This is an elided form of "at the rate that they are going". It means that if things continue as they have been happening, Fred and George will become rich. In casual spoken English, committing words such as "at the" from fixed or common phrases is frequent, and usually does not cause confusion.

"at the rate that they are going" is a very commonly used phrase.

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