“D’you think he meant you to do it?” said Ron. “Sending you your father’s cloak and everything?”
“Well, ” Hermione exploded, “if he did — I mean to say that’s terrible — you could have been killed.”
“No, it isn’t,” said Harry thoughtfully. “He’s a funny man, Dumbledore. I think he sort of wanted to give me a chance. I think he knows more or less everything that goes on here, you know. I reckon he had a pretty good idea we were going to try, and instead of stopping us, he just taught us enough to help. I don’t think it was an accident he let me find out how the mirror worked. It’s almost like he thought I had the right to face Voldemort if I could…”
(Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone)

Is ‘it’ refer to something preceding or is it a dummy-it and ‘like-‘ clause is the semantic subject?

  • I hope you don't mind--I made the bold into italic bold. My eyes weren't good enough to find the word It without that change.
    – user230
    Aug 21 '13 at 4:19
  • You're about five pages from the end of the book! Be sure to let us know when you finish so we can congratulate you! :-)
    – user230
    Aug 21 '13 at 4:38
  • @snailboat, Thank you for your cheering up. Actually I’ve been finding out lots, lots of new meanings of words, phrases, idioms, new ideas, the writer’s fascinating thought. And I’ve become her en-thusiastic fan. I guess it’ll take three more days to read through for my seventh try the Harry Potter book 1. And after that I’m reading my eighth way on.
    – Listenever
    Aug 21 '13 at 4:57
  • @snailboat, Once I told Mr. StoneyB I’m reading this book like Confucius read his book to wear off the leather binding strings. I’m very happy, and lucky that I’ve met this very wonderful work to read like that with interest and exciting. I’ve read all seven books of Harry Potter, and I’m going to read those again when I think I’m good enough to read the other books. Thank you again all your kind and good and wonderful answers for my questions.
    – Listenever
    Aug 21 '13 at 4:58
  • Oh, I see! Well, congratulations are nonetheless in order :-) Extensive reading is a wonderful thing, and Harry Potter is a pretty fun series to read!
    – user230
    Aug 22 '13 at 5:44

It's almost like is a fixed expression containing a dummy it.

This expression is used to indicate that the following proposition seems like it's true without actually stating that it is true. It expresses a strong suspicion or speculation and can be used either when there is no evidence or when the existing evidence seems to make the proposition unlikely or false. In this case, the proposition is:

[H]e thought I had the right to face Voldemort if I could...

Harry is saying that this proposition seems to be true, but he doesn't know that it's true. He doesn't know what Dumbledore is thinking; he can only speculate.

In this expression, the word like can be replaced with as if without changing the meaning.

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