I'm confused with grammar of the next sentence. It is from "harry potter and the prisoner of azkaban".

"Shards of glass flew in every direction and Aunt Marge sputtered and blinked, her great ruddy face dripping."

The sense of the sentence is clear but could you please explain me the last part 'her great ruddy face dripping.'? It sounds for me like it's missing something else here and I can not find any grammar rule for this case.


1 Answer 1


Aunt Marge's (great ruddy) face {is} dripping means that her face is wet, and the liquid is dripping off of it. In context, her drinking glass just exploded, sending shards of glass everywhere, and so it's implied that the liquid inside that glass also went everywhere. Everywhere includes her face, which is now dripping.

The verb "is" is implied, and optional. Compare, "Sarah laughing" with "Sarah is laughing".

Possibly irrelevant to you question: "ruddy" means "red", which can mean "healthy" with regards to a face, or in British English can also be a minced version of "bloody", as an intensifier.

  • And "ruddy" means "red". Usually it's a healthy kind of red. So "her big red face". Feb 26, 2021 at 12:05
  • I didn't think that was the part the questioner had issue with, so I didn't mention it, but I'll add it in now. Don't forget that ruddy can also be a polite "bloody" swear intensifier. Feb 26, 2021 at 12:12
  • I did the easy bit. Haven't heard it used as a milder 'bloody' for years. Except in "The IT Crowd", where it was used humorously. Feb 26, 2021 at 12:20
  • A ruddy face is usually a healthy or angry one, a ruddy door is a {expletive} door that's probably stuck... but its use here for Aunt Marge probably means both in a wink-wink-nod-nod sly sort of way, given how much Harry hates the woman. Feb 26, 2021 at 12:26
  • You have written "Aunt Marge's (ruddy) face is dripping" but the phrase in the original text is 'her great ruddy face dripping.' So there is no 'is' or 'was'. My question was is it ok to use 'face dripping' without 'to be' part ? Feb 26, 2021 at 12:29

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .