“To one as young as you, I’m sure it seems incredible, but to Nicolas and Perenelle, it really is like going to bed after a very, very long day. After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure. You know, the Stone was really not such a wonderful thing. As much money and life as you could want! The two things most human beings would choose above all — the trouble is, humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worst for them.”
(Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone)

It’s not clear to me whether the two highlighted parts are the same or not. Does the latter refer to the former or other things, for example, about detailed ways of seeking money and life?

1 Answer 1


No, “those” does not have “the two things most human beings would choose above all” as a grammatical antecedent. The phrase is synonymous with “the things that are worst for them”. If “those” had an antecedent, there couldn't be the qualifier “that are worst for them” after the noun.

Semantically, “those things that are worst for them” includes money and life, since they are what humans choose most often. They might include more than money and life, things that humans choose less than money and life (which are the top two choices) but still choose often.


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