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  1. M56

    "a nonsense"

    Could you take a look at these examples of the expression "a nonsense" and tell me what you think?

    condemned the concept of large mergers as a nonsense. But senior directors at Coopers yesterday told

    they develop, makes many of the downgradings a nonsense. Majors, such as Land Securities and MEPC,

    of courage and of improvisation that made a nonsense of the enemy's numerical and material superiority

    it was so different that comparison was a nonsense. The youngsters were also enthusiastic, but

    . "It's a paradox, it's a nonsense." Though over the years, from Southend to

    , the question seemed to me something of a nonsense, as it involved the square root of a

    kind of entry ticket for citizenship was always a nonsense: too many are able to dodge paying it

    security for several generations. This makes a nonsense of any incentive scheme. The penalty for

    reserves was mugged by statistical gremlins, making a nonsense of some of the numbers. Sorry. This

    --; it dawned on me that he'd made a nonsense of my belief in him." Ever since Charity

    different dimension of time: no. It was a nonsense they tried to teach me when I first made records

    said he was satisfied the allegations were "a nonsense". But he added that they could have

    AC. This was later proved to be a nonsense as the Hadfield-Manchester section was converted a couple of

    have the same as the child in front making a nonsense of the notion of choice. There are a great

  2. Editor,
    English Teacher
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    Re: "a nonsense"

    It's an interesting usage, but can it be used in the plural?

  3. M56

    Re: "a nonsense"

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    It's an interesting usage, but can it be used in the plural?
    According to the Cambridge International Dictionary it can.

    I'm also wondering if it isn't being used adjectively and not as a noun. Take a look at this post I made on another forum:

    <<Here, the omission seems to be the noun "action", which refers to the action of public shaming (elsewhere in the dialogue).

    MAXINE McKEW: Just a final point, if you would, Susan Pascoe.

    On this question - as Denis Fitzgerald keeps saying - of public shaming, can you guarantee you can avoid that?

    SUSAN PASCOE: I actually think that's a nonsense.>>

    In examples like this the omission seems to be obvious:

    What do you think of the coach's decision on the new striker?

    I think it's a nonsense (decision).

  4. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970

    Re: "a nonsense"

    I believe it's an instantiated use of a generic noun. Generic nouns can be instantiated by *members* of the class, like this,

    Generic use: Charles is prince.
    =>There is a class "Prince" and it consists of princes.

    Instantiated use: Charles is a prince.
    => Charles is a separate and distinct instantiation of another instance of class "Prince". That is, Charles is *a member of* the class "Man".
    The idea is this: a generic use points to the class, whereas an instantiated use points to members of that class, and as members (i.e., a count noun) the reference must be definite or indefinite, like this,

    Generic use: X is nonsense.
    =>X is a member of the class "Nonsense"

    Instantiated use: X is a nonsense.
    => X is a separate and distinct instantiation of another instance of class "nonsense". That is, X is *a member of* the class "Nonsense".

    Idea adopted from

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