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    #1

    Question The very man / The exact man you want

    I know that:

    "He's the very man you want." is correct.

    BUT..

    Is:

    "He's the exact man you want." correct too?

    It makes sense to me but I have to be sure it's correct.

    Google found a few examples in American Sports articles such as "...he’s the exact guy you want on your team".

    and in some girl ask girl sites: :p

    "He might end up being the exact man you think you want him to be. ..."

    and "You're probably not going to get the exact man you want..."



    So..what do you think? :)

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: The very man / The exact man you want

    I'd say 'the very man' or 'exactly the person' if specific and 'exactly the sort of man' if generic.

    I have a knee-jerk reaction against 'the exact same' (which means 'exactly the same': I think the pro*scription - which I can't justify, although I feel it - is based more on rhythm than anything else), and this spills over into a preference for not saying 'the exact man'.

    b

    PS * A lot of prescriptive grammar involves the learning of proscriptions - what not to do
    Last edited by BobK; 24-Feb-2011 at 12:15. Reason: Added PS

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: The very man / The exact man you want

    I have the same feelings as Bob, but I think 'the exact man' is probably acceptable, though the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) shows only three examples, the [bnc] BNC Simple Search - Using the BNC none (with one for 'the exact person').

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    #4

    Re: The very man / The exact man you want

    The thing is that all the examples I found are American, so could "the exact man you want" be used in the US only?

    Thanks for the info guys :)

  3. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: The very man / The exact man you want

    Quote Originally Posted by garret View Post
    The thing is that all the examples I found are American, so could "the exact man you want" be used in the US only?

    Thanks for the info guys :)
    I think that's a distinct possibility, given the evidence.

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    #6

    Re: The very man / The exact man you want

    I am not a teacher.

    Interesting. COCA shows 46 hits for "the very man".

    To try to answer what I can of the OP's question, "the exact man" is not incorrect. I don't like it very much, but that might be because I'm old and I've read a lot of great writers. It involves a non-standard use of "exact" which seems to stem from an imperfect understanding of phrases like "his exact words". The exact man likes to be precise. That said, English has always changed year to year, and it always will. This "exact" is readily understandable, and it is trying to occupy a niche being gradually vacated by the slowly dying "very" in the meaning "true". But right now it sounds like business-speak to me.

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    #7

    Re: The very man / The exact man you want

    Coolfootluke, ( great nick by the way, Paul Newman fan? ;) )

    I agree, and I have to say your explanation sounds very logical :)

    Those 2 examples are found as possible choices in a multiple choice test in an ECPE ( University of Michigan English Exams ) Grammar Book. It's not the first time I've found ambiguous or weird answers in that book, but the exam itself relies a bit on rare / not so common uses of the English language...and sadly that book tends to overdo it at times.

    Thanks again guys :)

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