Peter Richardson prichard at LINFIELD.EDU
Thu Oct 3 22:17:26 UTC 2002

This question comes not about a-prefixing, but the insertion of "a" in
superlatives. That is, "too good a time" for nonstandard *"a too good
time," or "too difficult a task" for *"a too difficult task." (The
nonstandard forms remind me of Effi Briest's father's famous "ein zu
weites Feld," but I digress.)

Yesterday on Morning Edition there was a report from NPR's Congressional
correspondent, David Wellna (sp?), in which I think I heard "too broad a
powers"--"a" used with the plural and thus obviously a fossil with
the purpose of circumlocuting the more cumbersome "powers that are/were
too broad."

What's this called, if anything?

Peter R.

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