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Thread: syllable (fig)

  1. #1
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    syllable (fig)

    I've read the following:
    "I never received a syllable of thanks".


    Can we also say:
    We haven't had a syllable of rain this month.
    He doesn't have a syllable of money.
    The team has a syllable of chance of avoiding relegation.

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    Re: syllable (fig)

    Quote Originally Posted by retro View Post
    I've read the following:
    "I never received a syllable of thanks".


    Can we also say:
    We haven't had a syllable of rain this month.
    He doesn't have a syllable of money.
    The team has a syllable of chance of avoiding relegation.
    No. The first phrase uses "syllable" as a small part of a word. It doesn't work for the others.

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    Re: syllable (fig)

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    No. The first phrase uses "syllable" as a small part of a word. It doesn't work for the others.
    Mike, it's over my head.

    "Syllable" in the first phase suggests to me the same meaning as "not any".
    Would you explain what exactly you mean when saying "The first phrase uses "syllable" as a small part of a word."

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    Re: syllable (fig)

    Quote Originally Posted by retro View Post
    Mike, it's over my head.

    "Syllable" in the first phase suggests to me the same meaning as "not any".
    Would you explain what exactly you mean when saying "The first phrase uses "syllable" as a small part of a word."
    I know of no such definition for "syllable". Normally, thanks is expressed in anything from a word to a paragraph. This person is being sarcastic when he says "never received a syllable of thanks". His thanks were not even a piece of a word.

    syl·la·ble (sĭl'ə-bəl)
    n.
      1. A unit of spoken language consisting of a single uninterrupted sound formed by a vowel, diphthong, or syllabic consonant alone, or by any of these sounds preceded, followed, or surrounded by one or more consonants.
      2. One or more letters or phonetic symbols written or printed to approximate a spoken syllable.
    1. The slightest bit of spoken or written expression: Do not alter a syllable of this message.
    tr.v., -bled, -bling, -bles.
    To pronounce in syllables.
    [Middle English sillable, from Anglo-Norman, alteration of Old French sillabe, from Latin syllaba, from Greek sullabē, from sullabein, second aorist of sullambanein, to combine in pronunciation : sun-, syn- + lambanein, to take.]


    The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright © 2004, 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
    Last edited by MikeNewYork; 29-Nov-2006 at 21:20.

  5. #5
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    Re: syllable (fig)

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    No. The first phrase uses "syllable" as a small part of a word. It doesn't work for the others.
    There is an idiom: 'not a word of thanks (meaning 'no thanks at all'). The phrase 'not a syllable of thanks' plays on this idiom.

    Your three versions don't work,. as Mike said. Corrected versions would be these:

    We haven't had a drop of rain this month.
    He doesn't have a bean/cent [you don't say 'of money']
    The team has a ghost of a chance of avoiding relegation.


    The word cent is used even in BE; also it can be intensified by the adjective red: 'not a red cent'. You can also say 'not a penny', or even 'he hasn't got two pennies to rub together'.

    In the last case, if the team had no chance, it would be 'not an earthly chance' - 'earthly chance' is a collocation that works only with a negative (as does 'red cent').

    b

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    Re: syllable (fig)

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    There is an idiom: 'not a word of thanks (meaning 'no thanks at all'). The phrase 'not a syllable of thanks' plays on this idiom.

    Your three versions don't work,. as Mike said. Corrected versions would be these:

    We haven't had a drop of rain this month.
    He doesn't have a bean/cent [you don't say 'of money']
    The team has a ghost of a chance of avoiding relegation.


    The word cent is used even in BE; also it can be intensified by the adjective red: 'not a red cent'. You can also say 'not a penny', or even 'he hasn't got two pennies to rub together'.

    In the last case, if the team had no chance, it would be 'not an earthly chance' - 'earthly chance' is a collocation that works only with a negative (as does 'red cent').

    b
    Are there any other phrases which include "a syllable of..."?

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    Re: syllable (fig)

    Quote Originally Posted by retro View Post
    Are there any other phrases which include "a syllable of..."?

    Not as far as I'm aware

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