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  1. Chicken Sandwich's Avatar
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    #1

    A shard of difference

    Obviously, a variety of motives are at work when parents consider a name for their child.
    They may want something traditional or something bohemian, something unique or
    something perfectly trendy. It would be an overstatement to suggest that all parents are
    looking—whether consciously or not—for a “smart” name or a “high-end” name. But
    they are all trying to signal something with a name, whether the name is Winner or Loser,
    Madison or Amber, Shithead or Sander, DeShawn or Jake. What the California names
    data suggest is that an overwhelming number of parents use a name to signal their own
    expectations of how successful their children will be. The name isn’t likely to make a
    shard of difference.
    But the parents can at least feel better knowing that, from the very
    outset, they tried their best.
    Shard is defined in the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English as:
    shard / ʃɑːd $ ʃɑːrd / ( also sherd ) noun [ countable ]

    a sharp piece of broken glass, metal etc shard of a shard of pottery





    Is this expression (a shard of difference) common? I gather from the context that "a shard of difference" means "no difference/little difference".

    However, can "a shard of" be used, meaning "a very small amount" or "very little" in other contexts?

    So, for e.g.: I've had a shard of luck. Or: I've had a shard of beer. (since luck is abstract, and beer isn't, this usage seems odd).
    Last edited by Chicken Sandwich; 11-Jul-2011 at 11:47.

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    #2

    Re: A shard of difference

    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken Sandwich View Post
    Shard is defined in the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English as:
    Is this expression (a shard of difference) common? I gather from the context that "a shard of difference" means "no difference/little difference".

    However, can "a shard of" be used, meaning "a very small amount" or "very little" in other contexts?

    So, for e.g.: I've had a shard of luck. Or: I've had a shard of beer. (since luck is abstract, and beer isn't, this usage seems odd).
    Common? Not in AmE.
    'Shard of difference' in the context posted, little/no difference? I would understand it as such.
    'Shard' of an abstract noun? OK, but again, not common in AmE.
    'Shard' for certain countable nouns and a piece of a whole? OK but not for liquids.

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    #3

    Re: A shard of difference

    Chicken Sandwich, when you are trying to find out how common an expression is, you might want to consider using CORPORA: 45-425 million words each: free online access. It's very useful.

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