It would be enough to turn any boy's head. Famous before he can walk and talk! Famous for something he won't even remember! Can't you see how much better off he'll be, growing up away from all that until he's ready to take it?
(Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone)

Is the participial phrase the modifier for he, or the adverbial phrase implying cause of the "how much better off he'll be"?

2 Answers 2


It's one of those awful gerund phrases that can be replaced with a conditional clause: "if he grows up away from all that...": "If he grows up away from all that until he can understand and accept it, he'll be much better off. Can't you understand that?" Just a style choice.


A participial phrase generally works as adjective, not as adverb. "Growing up away from all that" is a participial phrase referred to he.

  • This is the correct and simple answer. Grammatically speaking the participial phrase could be replaced by, say, the simple adjective unaware. Which obviously just modifies the [hypothetical/future] "he", who at some point after the utterance is made will match that description. Mar 7, 2013 at 2:19

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