Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Education & ReferenceWords & Wordplay · 2 months ago

What does the expression "it does not do" mean?

In Harry Potter, Dumbledore says, "It does not do to dwell on dreams, Harry." What does "it does not do" even mean? I try to work it out, but it sounds like gibberish, so does that mean something in British English?

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  • 2 months ago
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    Dumbledore means that it not a good idea for Harry to dwell on the past or what might happen in the future because it will distract him from dealing with the present circumstances.  'It does not do' or 'it just will not do' is a patronising way of saying 'you'd better not do it.'

    Example from Pride and Prejudice:   “In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” Elizabeth’s astonishment was beyond expression. She stared, coloured, doubted, and was silent."

  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    Harry is wasting time thinking of what may or may not have been.

    The dream of Harry's life with his mother and father all living together as a happy family unit.

    Since the past can not be changed, it a waste of energy, to keep thinking of what may have been instead of what is.

    If he continues to dwell on his dreams, since his father and mother can not be bought back to life, he will not be living his life.

    In other words Harry won't find happiness or fulfillment if he doesn't let go of the past.

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