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    • Join Date: Nov 2009
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    #1

    The essence of

    In Richard Dawkins' book The Greatest Show on Earth, I found these phrases: "the perfect idea of rabbit", "the ideal essence of rabbit". Here are the full sentences:

    "The rabbits that we see are wan shadows of the perfect 'idea' of rabbit, the ideal, essential, Platonic rabbit..."

    "Flesh-and-blood rabbits may vary, but their variations are always to be seen as flawed derivations from the ideal essence of rabbit."


    Would these expressions still be grammatical with "a" or "the" added before rabbit in them? If so, would the meaning be any different?

    Thank you.

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    #2

    Re: The essence of

    Quote Originally Posted by sergwi View Post
    In Richard Dawkins' book The Greatest Show on Earth, I found these phrases: "the perfect idea of rabbit", "the ideal essence of rabbit". Here are the full sentences:

    "The rabbits that we see are wan shadows of the perfect 'idea' of rabbit, the ideal, essential, Platonic rabbit..."

    "Flesh-and-blood rabbits may vary, but their variations are always to be seen as flawed derivations from the ideal essence of rabbit."


    Would these expressions still be grammatical with "a" or "the" added before rabbit in them? If so, would the meaning be any different?

    Thank you.
    In my opinion the author's choice regarding articles usage in the passages above seems to be the best one.

    Maybe you could say "the perfect idea of a rabbit", with the same meaning, however, as I said, I still prefer by far the author's choice.
    Which one of the rabbit ocurrences precisely would you like to analyse?
    Do not forget that the article "a" cannot be used in front of plural nouns.


    PS Not a native speaker

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