Results 1 to 3 of 3
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Georgia
      • Current Location:
      • Georgia

    • Join Date: Apr 2010
    • Posts: 293
    #1

    ''A'' ? "What''?

    Hello,


    I wonder why the auther uses 'a' in this sentence?

    Rembrandt could have been nothing but what was delightful and good, since he was loved by so charming a girl as Saskia.

    And what is the meaning of what here in this sentence? Can it be replaced by ''that"?

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jan 2008
    • Posts: 2,944
    #2

    Re: ''A'' ? "What''?

    The construction of the sentence is old fashioned and akward.

    Rembrandt could have been nothing (except) what was delightful and good, since he was loved by so charming a girl as (expression meaning: such a charming girl as )Saskia.

    I've never met so handsome a man as Clint.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Dec 2009
    • Posts: 6,332
    #3

    Re: ''A'' ? "What''?

    Quote Originally Posted by sondra View Post
    Hello,


    I wonder why the auther uses 'a' in this sentence?

    Rembrandt could have been nothing but what was delightful and good, since he was loved by so charming a girl as Saskia.

    And what is the meaning of what here in this sentence? Can it be replaced by ''that"?

    !!!!! NOT A TEACHER !!!!!


    Sondra,


    I understand that "He was loved by a so charming girl as Saskia (is)"

    is "correct" but not idiomatic (the way that native speakers have decided

    to speak).

    Dr. John B. Opdycke in Harper's English Grammar explains that

    "Ear is the deciding factor in most such idioms."

    He gives some examples in which the "a" has been transferred from

    its usual place:

    many a boy

    how excellent a view

    so sweet a story

    too great a sacrifice

    In other words, native speakers have decided that those idioms

    sound better in that order.


    Thank you & have a nice day

Similar Threads

  1. [Vocabulary] How do you pronounce "Cotton", "Button", "Britain", "Manhattan"...
    By Williamyh in forum Pronunciation and Phonetics
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 24-Dec-2009, 09:36
  2. "hundreds", "fives", "ones", "Tens", "20s"
    By IMPSX-UE in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 07-Mar-2009, 19:54
  3. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 08-Sep-2008, 08:27
  4. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 22-Nov-2007, 12:26
  5. confusing words "expressed" or "express" and "named" or"names"
    By Dawood Usmani in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 26-Oct-2007, 19:33

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •