English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

It was a nice feeling, sitting there with Ron, eating their way through all Harry’s pasties, cakes, and candies (the sandwiches lay forgotten).

In this sentence, what's the meaning of 'their way'? Is it having the function of adverbial phrase?

share|improve this question
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Grammatically it is the direct object of eating.

Semantically, the idiom eat one's way through means to eat, with a connotation that there is a lot of food.

It is an example of what you might call an "idiom schema" that can be used with various verbs which refer to actions one might do on a lot of individual items, again with a connotation that there are many things to deal with:

I worked my way through all the forms they presented me with.

He read his way through all the reports

or even

They sang their way through all the madrigals in the book.

But I think that eat and work are the most common verbs you will find in this schema.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


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

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.