???Re: ADJ (of) a -- where's the plural?

Benjamin Barrett bjb5 at U.WASHINGTON.EDU
Sun Apr 18 06:27:11 UTC 2004

In the example, "He's too good a shooter", the "a" is short for "of a" for
me. There isn't an issue of whether the "of" adds something or not, it's
simply part and parcel to the phrase.

I'm not sure what you mean by "original"; I'm simply trying to explain how
I have always parsed this construction and note how it explains the plural
issue mentioned earlier in the thread.

Benjamin Barrett

>-----Original Message-----
>From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU]
>In a message dated 4/17/04 4:55:03 PM, bjb5 at U.WASHINGTON.EDU writes:
>> To me, there is no version without the "of". "He's too good
>a shooter"
>> comes from "good of a" where the "of" is reduced to a schwa and
>> phonetically combines with the article.
>I don't accept this. "He's too good a shooter" is perfectly
>grammatical and logical, meaning sinply "He's a shooter who is
>too good." The "of" adds nothing, and in my view could not be
>the original version of this phrase.
>Steve Boatti
>sjb72 at columbia.edu

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