When he was dressed he went down the hall into the kitchen. The table was almost hidden beneath all Dudley's birthday presents. It looked as though Dudley had gotten the new computer he wanted, not to mention the second television and the racing bike. Exactly why Dudley wanted a racing bike was a mystery to Harry, as Dudley was very fat and hated exercise -- unless of course it involved punching somebody. Dudley's favorite punching bag was Harry, but he couldn't often catch him. Harry didn't look it, but he was very fast. (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone)

Does the highlighted part mean Dudley had got two televisions now (1), does he had replaced the first his own one (2), or does he got his own television for the first time as the second television in the family (3)?

  • I'd lean towards 3 as the most likely but I don't think there's enough information in the quoted paragraph to say that is definitely what is meant. Commented Sep 4, 2013 at 11:36

1 Answer 1


We can infer pretty strongly just from the presented quote that option (1) is the correct choice, since the parallel construction is that "...Dudley had gotten ... the second television [that he wanted]", which only makes sense if Dudley personally had already gotten a first television; so now Dudley now has 2 televisions of his own.

Also, based on the larger context of the book, it's evident that (1) is the intended meaning. Dudley is a very spoiled child who is given just about everything he wants, and there's really no doubt that he would have wanted a television of his own well before this birthday, and that having wanted it, he would have gotten it.

(I would expect that the second television is either larger than the first, or can be placed in the bathroom or some other strategic spot where Dudley can't see his first one.)

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