Student or Learner
In this study, we describe a current change in progress involving a previously unstudied
syntactic variable. The variable under study is the presence of post-adjectival (of) in degree
constructions such as “It’s not that big (of) a deal”. Our initial impressionistic and corpus
observations showed that such constructions occur frequently across discursive domains in
American English. A corpus search of news media from the 1940s to the present day revealed a
steady increase in (of) usage, particularly in the past two decades. People’s intuitions about the
relative acceptability of the feature also suggest its significance as a sociolinguistic variable.
Almost. Discursive domains means areas of discourse, or fields of discussion/writing/debate.