The rest of the team hung back to talk to one another as usual at the end of practice, but Harry headed straight back to the Gryffindor common room, where he found Ron and Hermione playing chess. Chess was the only thing Hermione ever lost at, something Harry and Ron thought was very good for her.
(Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone)

‘Something’ looks alike to complementizers, for example ‘that’ or ‘what’ or ‘which’. But I can’t find this usage in dictionaries. What role does ‘something’ take in this context?


The word something in this case refers to losing. The sentence could be rewritten as:

Chess was the only thing Hermione ever lost at, and Harry and Ron thought it was very good for her to lose at something.

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  • So 'something' refers to 'Hermione's losing'and takes the subject role in 'was very good for her' Isn't it? – Listenever Jul 14 '13 at 2:20
  • or form "something (=very important thing) that was very good for her" 'that' is omitted. – Listenever Jul 14 '13 at 2:29
  • Yes, I suppose you could parse it that way. – J.R. Jul 14 '13 at 2:29
  • Which one do you say, the first or the second? – Listenever Jul 14 '13 at 2:48
  • I was referring to the first (we were typing at the same time), but the second isn't too bad, either. – J.R. Jul 14 '13 at 2:55

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