Safire: "... You cannot say 'more *woman*'; ..."

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Wed Mar 21 15:23:43 UTC 2007

On Mar 21, 2007, at 8:01 AM, Jon Lighter wrote:

> It seems to me that about half a century ago movie ads and pulp
> novels first created and then overexploited phrases like, "She's
> more woman than any man can handle !" and "Am I too much woman for
> you ?"  In context these had strong sexual overtones.
>   Feminists of the early '70's, IIRC, objected that the word "more
> of a man" conveyed strong character while "more of a woman"
> conveyed passionate sexuality.
>   These factors are very likely behind Safire's assertion.

they might have some distant connection to it, but safire (at the
relevant point in the column) was trying to make a grammatical point,
not a semantic one, and the construction with "of" unambiguously
involves a (count) *noun*, complete with article.  (it's an
interesting construction, but distinct from the one we ended up
looking at most recently, thanks to comments by wilson and amy.)


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