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Sophia Alexandrova
Posted: Saturday, May 12, 2018 10:56:38 AM

Rank: Newbie

Joined: 6/12/2016
Posts: 41
Neurons: 14,188
Location: Moscow, Moscow, Russia
Hi!

I have come across the unusual usage of the indefinite article many times and I wonder in which cases I can use it the same way and what it helps to convey (emphasis or smth else).
For example: As the day approached, I set out to tell this story in as contemporaneous a fashion as possible, and to try to see life in the Trump White House through the eyes of the people closest to it.

Maybe this way of usage has a special name for me to explore the topic.

Thanks in advance!
FounDit
Posted: Saturday, May 12, 2018 11:01:20 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 8,911
Neurons: 47,789
Sophia Alexandrova wrote:
Hi!
I'm unsure what is confusing you, but I did notice the word "try" needs to be past tense.

I have come across the unusual usage of the indefinite article many times and I wonder in which cases I can use it the same way and what it helps to convey (emphasis or smth else).
For example: As the day approached, I set out to tell this story in as contemporaneous a fashion as possible, and tried to see life in the Trump White House through the eyes of the people closest to it.

Maybe this way of usage has a special name for me to explore the topic.

Thanks in advance!


A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
Sophia Alexandrova
Posted: Saturday, May 12, 2018 11:13:30 AM

Rank: Newbie

Joined: 6/12/2016
Posts: 41
Neurons: 14,188
Location: Moscow, Moscow, Russia
Thanks, it was a misprint.
Actually there is nothing cofusing but to me the way the article is used here seems unusual. Is it a common way of usage? :)
maltliquor87
Posted: Saturday, May 12, 2018 11:27:50 AM

Rank: Member

Joined: 11/29/2017
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Neurons: 39,496
Location: Moscow, Moscow, Russia
I think I know what may be confusing. The most common pattern is "an article + an adjective + a noun" insofar as we have this trio present. But when we add such words as "that, as, so" an article has to come not before an adjective, but before a noun.

For example,

Quote:
That was so beautiful a song that its tune kept popping in my head all day long

Quote:
It was not that big a problem





FounDit
Posted: Saturday, May 12, 2018 11:33:06 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 8,911
Neurons: 47,789
Sophia Alexandrova wrote:
Thanks, it was a misprint.
Actually there is nothing cofusing but to me the way the article is used here seems unusual. Is it a common way of usage? :)


Yes, it is fairly common, and will often be seen.

A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
Sophia Alexandrova
Posted: Saturday, May 12, 2018 11:40:32 AM

Rank: Newbie

Joined: 6/12/2016
Posts: 41
Neurons: 14,188
Location: Moscow, Moscow, Russia
maltliquor87 wrote:
I think I know what may be confusing. The most common pattern is "an article + an adjective + a noun" insofar as we have this trio present. But when we add such words as "that, as, so" an article has to come not before an adjective, but before a noun.

For example,

Quote:
That was so beautiful a song that its tune kept popping in my head all day long

Quote:
It was not that big a problem







Thanks! It was the very thing I was asking about.
maltliquor87
Posted: Saturday, May 12, 2018 11:48:06 AM

Rank: Member

Joined: 11/29/2017
Posts: 52
Neurons: 39,496
Location: Moscow, Moscow, Russia
It's just a matter of pattern. When you throw in such small words as "so, that, as" an article comes after an adjective, not before it.

You have to also keep in mind that in conversational English the pattern "that+ an adjective + an article + a noun" will often have the participle "of". To borrow the latter example,

Quote:
It's not that big a problem

is the same as
Quote:
It's not that big of a problem
NKM
Posted: Saturday, May 12, 2018 3:07:25 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/14/2015
Posts: 4,485
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Location: Corinth, New York, United States
Note 1: As I read it, there's nothing wrong with "try" in the sentence. "I set out to tell …, and to try to see …"
 (What did I set out to do? To tell the story, and to try to see.)

Note 2: I have complained before (quite recently) about the extraneous "of" in constructions like "that big of a problem".

Romany
Posted: Sunday, May 13, 2018 6:13:35 AM
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Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom
NK,
Hadn',t realised you'd talked about it: had thought it was by now acceptable in
AE because the usage is ubiquitous...have even heard show hosts and politicians using it.Have often mused about how that extraneous "of" got into the act!
maltliquor87
Posted: Sunday, May 13, 2018 7:42:11 AM

Rank: Member

Joined: 11/29/2017
Posts: 52
Neurons: 39,496
Location: Moscow, Moscow, Russia
Romany wrote:
NK,
Hadn',t realised you'd talked about it: had thought it was by now acceptable in
AE because the usage is ubiquitous...have even heard show hosts and politicians using it.Have often mused about how that extraneous "of" got into the act!


Here's a relevant post from The Grammarphobia Blog
https://www.grammarphobia.com/blog/2014/01/not-that-big-of-a-deal.html
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