What does this sentence mean (from HarryPotter)?

What wouldn’t he give now for a message from Hogwarts?

I don't know the grammar of this sentence. Why use "give" rather than "receive"?

Can somebody explain this sentence for me?

  • 2
    It's a "rhetorical question", where the expected answer would be He would give anything for a message (he values the message so highly that he would willingly give up/pay anything he has in exchange for receiving it). May 30, 2015 at 16:14

1 Answer 1


The question pretty much means the same as: What wouldn't he do now in order to get a message from Hogwarts?

It basically means that he really wants a message from Hogwarts and would do just about anything or give just about anything (his soul, his life for example) to get what he really really wants (the letter).

  • The other part of the construct is that the lack of an answer is, in fact, the answer: i.e. nothing. There is nothing he wouldn't give now for a message from Hogwarts.
    – whybird
    Oct 20, 2015 at 6:58

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