Context- Black has been trying to convince Harry that he is guilty that Harry doubt.

These words jolted Harry to his senses.

Even after that, he still questions Black.

So I am confused if it means "made Harry behave sensibly" or "extremely shocked him"? Can "to the senses" mean "extremely"? My research : come to one's senses could mean "get sensible". It could also mean "shock deeply".


1 Answer 1


The central meaning of 'come to ones sense' is not at all synonymous with anything like 'sensibly' or 'extremely' or 'shock' or 'deeply' (of course with appropriate accommodations of grammar) or anything you've suggested. This means that one cannot (in any circumstance I can imagine but I suppose there may well be some) replace 'come to ones senses' with these suggestions.

The sentence

These words jolted Harry to his senses.

is not even close to

These words deeply shocked Harry.

'Jolted' may well be close to 'deeply shocked' but these two are not identical.

'...come to your senses' it means something near to 'come to a full realization' or 'become suddenly aware'. There is no sense of 'shock' or, on a very different dimension, 'deeply' or 'extremely'. 'Sensibly' sounds similar but 'to be sensible' just means to not be rash, which is not the same as awareness.

I think you may really be inadvertently thinking about 'jolted' which does carry a sense of 'suddenly' which may have some correlation with 'deeply' or 'extremely'.

Part of your confusion about the words in all these sentences may come from the context that you mentioned, that "Even after that, he still questions Black.". Even though one might expect 'coming to ones senses' one would not question things anymore, this apparent conflict can be explained. In the social and cognitive situation, coming to ones senses, or a realization, may occur but even with that, one may still have questions about the new understanding. Coming to ones sense does not mean that one understands absolutely everything, just the main point (that's not an issue of the semantics of the words, just an inference about cognitive and social reality.

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