I was reading Harry Potter/a Harry Potter book

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fdk47

Senior Member
Tagalog
What would a native speaker say for reading one of the Harry Potter series of seven books?

1. I was reading one of the Harry Potter series of seven books. (--->>It sounds too long, I think.)
2. I was reading Harry Potter. (--->>It sounds ambiguous. If a listener had no knowledge of Harry Potter, there is no way of knowing that it is one of the series.)
3. I was reading a Harry Potter book. (--->>This sounds best of all three, but I wrote them myself so if you have any suggestions for other sentences, please let me know.)

Thank you.
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    You are correct: "I was reading a Harry Potter book." is the best choice because the indefinite article carries the meaning of "one from/of the many".

    However, as you say in 2., if the listener has never heard of Harry Potter, he might think that Harry Potter is the author. (Compare "I was reading a Shakespeare play...") but, in the real world, we all have to make some assumptions about the reader.
     

    fdk47

    Senior Member
    Tagalog
    Thank you for your answer, PaulQ! I didn't think of the possibility that someone might think "Harry Potter" as the author!
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    1) could be also be misread by someone who doesn't know better. It sounds like there might be several series and each series consists of seven books. You are reading one of the series.
    I was reading one of the seven books of the Harry Potter series.
    I was reading one of the books of the Harry Potter series of seven books.
     
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