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Thread: drunk/drunken

  1. #1
    angliholic's Avatar
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    Smile drunk/drunken

    He is such a drunk/drunken man that he cannot hold the pen tight.


    Do both drunk and drunken both fit in the context? If not, why? Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: drunk/drunken

    Quote Originally Posted by angliholic View Post
    He is such a drunk/drunken man that he cannot hold the pen tight.


    Do both drunk and drunken both fit in the context? If not, why? Thanks.
    Drunk. Drunken is becoming much less common - but persists in collocations like 'drunken sailor' (reinforced, in that case, by a song - 'What shall we do with the drunken sailor?').

    But even with "drunk", your sentence sounds odd. If the drunkenness is habitual, you would say "He is such a drunk[or "drunkard"] that...'; otherwise, you would say "He is so drunk that...".

    b

  3. #3
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    Default Re: drunk/drunken

    Thanks, Bob.
    It seems to me that drunken is often put before a noun, eg, drunken driving, a drunken sailor, a drunken man. In contrast to it, drunk is often preceded by the verb be.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: drunk/drunken

    Quote Originally Posted by angliholic View Post
    Thanks, Bob.
    It seems to me that drunken is often put before a noun, eg, drunken driving, a drunken sailor, a drunken man. In contrast to it, drunk is often preceded by the verb be.
    When I said '[becoming] less common' I didn't mean 'dying out'. But I remember a time when - for example - the BBC news didn't refer to 'drunk driving'. Now it's either 'drunk driving' or 'drink/driving', and people who - in the UK, at least - still say 'drunken driving' tend to be 'of a certain age' (like me).

    "Drunken" as a metaphor for "not very well controlled" is still widely used: 'even at this time of year, a few drunken wasps are still flying about'

    b

  5. #5
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    Default Re: drunk/drunken

    Thanks, Bob, for the extra amusing info.

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