And come back and find the house in ruins? (Harry Potter) [imperative sentence?]

< Previous | Next >


Senior Member
"You could just leave me here," Harry put in hopefully (he'd be able to watch what he wanted on television for a change and maybe even have a go on Dudley's computer).
Aunt Petunia looked as though she'd just swallowed a lemon.
"And come back and find the house in ruins?" she snarled.
(Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone)

Is the ‘come back and find the house in ruins’ an imperative sentence, or is ‘you could’ omitted before come back?
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    This is not an imperative, Listenever. It means something like "If I left you here, I would find the house in ruins when I came back." Phrasing a conjecture about the future as a question like this is fairly common in everyday speech.

    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    The question contains an implied clause which would be something like the italicized part: 'Do you seriously think that I'm going to leave you here and come back and find the house in ruins?"


    Senior Member
    Aunt Petunia is "putting words in Harry's mouth", as if he had said "You could just leave me here and come back and find the house in ruins" and she says "Really?".

    To her, finding the house in ruins logically follows from leaving him there.

    Grammatically "come" and "find" here are infinitives, not imperatives, because they connect with the previous "could".
    < Previous | Next >