Do we say "a man of many brains" or "a man of
<With this in mind, I am firmly convinced that neither "google hits" or "the instinction of a particular native speaker" can prove or can be expected to be always right in language learning, for both native speakers and non-native speakers alike.>
Indeed not. One needs to consult many sources.
Thanks for a thought provoking thread.
Here are a few more to tease our minds:
a statement of much emphasis
a decision of much hope
a river of much water
a time of much change
a day of much light
an issue of much ado
a time of much import
a period of much grief
Note the humorous difference here:
a man of much gut
a man of much guts
Whatever you say, Americans will think you are weird if you say "a man of much of brain". Maybe it's okay to use in Britain.
>>Travis, is "I didn't use to like to like eggs" Standard, IYO?<<
I would not call it standard in the sense of following Standard English (that is, the formal literary language), but I would say that it is not *very* nonstandard as colloquial English goes in reality (as there are things that I would say are far more nonstandard than it in actual spoken English). However, it does come off as being rather weird due to the use of "didn't" with "use to" as well as the use of "like to" with "like".
>>If so, is it more, or less, formal than "I used not to like eggs"?<<
I would say that it is less formal than "I used not to like eggs", even though that is somewhat akward in how it is constructed (I would strongly favor "I used to not like eggs" over it).
<I would not call it standard in the sense of following Standard English (that is, the formal literary language),>
Where is Standard English described only as that which is formal?
>>Where is Standard English described only as that which is formal?<<
Well, there are standardized aspects of informal speech, such as "'ve" and "'ll". At the same time, though, there are aspects of informal speech that are practically ubiquitous in very large dialect groupings such as "sorta" and "kinda" which are considered as being nonstandard despite their ubiquity.
Consequently, one really cannot speak of informal speech as being standard in the formal sense even if has features which are extremely widespread in practice. Hence, one really can only apply traditional ideas of standardness to the literary language, which follows such much better than most spoken usage as a whole.
And mind you that I am speaking of "Standard English" alone, not different English standards (such as General American and Received Pronunciation), which very well do apply to speech as they consider things such as pronunciation which the notion of Standard English largely does not address.
<< Problem is, Kef, most of your posts follow that line. You don't think before you post and then set off a whole trail of questioning about your intended meaning. Much later in the threads, you finally decide what it is you wanted to say. Try to think before you post. >>
Well, I usually don't have this problem! And I think the reason why I usually don't have this problem is because I think the tangents you take me down tend to be unimportant. So I think, whether or not I "think" before I post, I'm going to just stop being led into them. As for the thinking issue, I don't have time to invest a lot of thought into every single word I use on a message board... if I were writing a book, it'd be different, and all this discussion would be warranted, but I'm not. I had *already* explained what I meant by "idiomatic" in the very post that I used that word, even though it was obviously not the same thing that you meant. But no, you kept going on about it as if what I meant were some big mystery that my entire argument hinged on. I don't have to put up with stuff like this, and more importantly, neither do the other Antimooners. So I'm simply going to do my best to not let it happen anymore. If I see you disagree with me, I'm just going to make a short response and leave it at that, hoping that somebody else comes along and says what I want to say in a way that generates more light than heat.
You want to talk about thinking before answering? Why don't you think about what discussions like these are going to look like to the other people here: pointless, needless, silly, and irrelevant. Although I didn't start thinking about it until recently, it looks like I thought about it first.
So I'm done. No more arguing with M56 until I can be sure I'm not going to fall into a black hole over some stupid technicality.
I would like to add that I do appreciate the vigorous manner that my misconceptions are addressed. I don't mind being wrong: if I'm wrong, I'm wrong. What bothers me is that most of the stuff we end up talking about doesn't really matter. We should have said that "of much brain" is a valid construction because occurs here, and here, and here, but it doesn't really occur in colloquial conversation, and left it at that. It shouldn't have needed four pages of discussion. It also bothers me that posts from Pos in particular tend to seem a bit personal. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but I don't like that sort of tone. Attack my arguments all you like: I like seeing bad arguments defeated whether they're mine or not. But I don't like seeing pointless attacks on *me*. So let's not make things personal, all right?
< And I think the reason why I usually don't have this problem is because I think the tangents you take me down tend to be unimportant. So I think, whether or not I "think" before I post, I'm going to just stop being led into them. >
LOL! Blaming others for your impulsiveness is not on, mate.
<What bothers me is that most of the stuff we end up talking about doesn't really matter. >
To whom does it not matter?
<< LOL! Blaming others for your impulsiveness is not on, mate. >>
I didn't say I'm without blame. I'm just saying I'm not the only one at fault. Yes, it's my fault that I'm not absolutely perfect, and my fault that I get led down the tangent that results, but it's not my fault that somebody else started leading me there. I'm not the only one involved there. Indeed, I'm recognizing my own role in this by taking initiative in not being dragged down into such nonsense arguments anymore. And I'm going to start by not being dragged into an argument on this point. If you disagree, fine, whatever. Doesn't matter, really.
<< To whom does it not matter? >>
Generally, anybody outside the discussion. When the four of us get into it, we tend to be the only ones involved.
<Consequently, one really cannot speak of informal speech as being standard in the formal sense even if has features which are extremely widespread in practice. >
If you attempt to dump all informal speech in a nonstandard bucket, you're bound to draw the conclusion that standard English/es has/have no informal register. Standard English does in fact have both formal and informal registers and lots of shades on the cline between. Take can and could, for example, or who and whom. One of each pair is considered more formal that the other in many uses, but both are used in Standard English. There are also many items that both Standard English and nonstandard English share. If they didn't each would probably be seen as a different language.
I'm afraid you are wrong when you say that Standard English lacks informal language. Totally wrong, in fact.
Clearly, what you mean by Standard English and what Travis means are two different things. You're getting dragged down in terminology again.
How can there be a single standard English anyway? In American English, you say "She's in the hospital." and in British English you say, "She is in hospital." There are many other irreconcilable differences between British and American English, such as "got" versus "gotten", so it's meaningless to refer to "standard english" unless you refer to a specific region.
I'm regarding Standard English as a literary language with a version used in formal speech. Of course, many individual dialects have features or Standard English in various registers, but they themselves are not Standard English per se except in very formal registers (where common but nonstandard features like "sorta" and "kinda" would be absent). And of course, there are features of speech absent in writing that have been accepted as standard, but these tend to be arbitrary in that they often leave out features that probably should be considered to be standard, such as the aforementioned "sorta" and "kinda", due to their wide range of use.
Of course, the reason why "sorta" and "kinda" are nonstandard despite their being very widespread is because Standard English does not really reflect spoken English today, whatever the dialect group in question may happen to be. It is largely frozen to represent a highly idealized version of formal speech at approximately the start of the 19th century, with primarily vocabulary change occurring in it since that point in time and only relatively minor grammatical change (such as the optional replacement of "whom" with "who").
Of course, there are informal speech varieties which are widely understandable throughout large sections of the English-speaking world, but these are not necessarily applicable to the entire English-speaking world in the way that standard literary English is. Locally standard informal speech forms in North America differ significantly from those in England (for example, most North American English dialects largely preserve the subjunctive whereas most English English dialects have lost it) whereas the differences in the literary language are relatively minimal (and primarily concern word choice and some minor points of grammar and orthography). There are common features throughout such which are commonly regarded as standard (such as English verb conjugation in the present indicative), but those are just individual features which are regarded as standard rather than a single overarching standard that is applicable to informal speech.