Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I sometimes see ‘you and …’ in English, for example “you and the other nine”, “You and your big mouth!”. This makes me sensitive to you and something.

“Okay,” said Harry slowly. “But … are you saying Karkaroff put my name in the goblet? Because if he did, he’s a really good actor. He seemed furious about it. He wanted to stop me from competing.”

“We know he’s a good actor,” said Sirius, “because he convinced the Ministry of Magic to set him free, didn’t he? Now, I’ve been keeping an eye on the Daily Prophet, Harry –“

“– you and the rest of the world,” said Harry bitterly.

“—and reading between the lines of that Skeeter woman’s article last month, Moody was attacked the night before he started at Hogwarts. (The rest is omitted.) (p333, Harry Potter 4, US edition)

NB - Harry doesn’t like anyone to be interested in the Daily Prophet because Skeeter, a news reporter of the paper, is always inventing stories about Harry.

Does this ‘you and the rest of the world’ mean just a literal meaning? If Harry says “The other people, too”, is there any big difference in what Harry means to say?

share|improve this question
add comment

4 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

As stated by yourself, Harry doesn't like anyone to be interested in the Daily Prophet.

When "Harry" said 'you and the rest of the world', he is stating : "Everyone reads the Daily Prophet!"

It's the same when someone say, teases you. You could get upset and say "No one likes me anymore!"

Not really literally no one. It's just an expression.

share|improve this answer
add comment

"You and..." is an idiomatic use of English, which means it is used more figuratively than literally.

In saying "You and the rest of the world," Harry is pointing out that Ron is not the only person who is reading about him in the Prophet. We are being told that a lot of other people are doing the same thing; not literally everyone else in the world, but still an impressively large number.

Similarly, "You and your big mouth" doesn't literally mean that you have an unusually large mouth. Instead it means that you talk too much (i.e. use that mouth a lot). The unspoken continuation of the sentence would be something like "...have just said something really stupid."

"The other people, too," is not quite equivalent to "You and the rest of the world." There are shadings of meaning that make it work much less well in context; in particular, it takes the focus off "you" and implies that the others are in some way important to the discussion. "You and the rest" only cares that the other people exist, not that they matter.

share|improve this answer
add comment

This is a common phrase that actually has a pretty nuanced meaning. It's synonymous to the phrase "Everyone and their grandmother." Everyone would already include all grandmothers, so this is just a silly way of saying "A whole lot of people."

Of course, Harry isn't actually saying "Everyone else in the world is reading the Daily Prophet." At its base, it means "A whole lot of people -- more than one would expect in a normal circumstance -- are reading the daily prophet." This phrase is an example of hyperbole. The connotation of this phrase varies between "neutral/matter-of-fact" and "negative."

This harry potter example is negative. Something like "Everyone in the world is here" is neutral, and just an observation that 'here' has more people than he expected, by a large margin.

share|improve this answer
    
I always heard it as 'everyone and his grandmother', similar to 'the world and his wife'. –  TimLymington Jul 30 '11 at 15:48
add comment

Harry is using sarcasm to convey his contempt for the Daily Prophet. If the statement didn't include exaggeration as it does, it would lose meaning sounding a bit absurd.

"You and..." is a fairly common meme used in this sarcastic context. It can be used either in a happy joking fashion or the above bitter fashion amongst others. "You and your whole family," "You and everybody else in the neighborhood"

It can be used to mock an object, a practice, or the target of "you" for appearing to claim something unique about themselves which is, in fact, common.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.