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    #1

    less a laughing matter?

    Hello, teachers!

    I've found the following:

    The hope is that with effective treatments, a diagnosis of hypochondria will become a more acceptable diagnosis and less a laughing matter or a cause for embarrassment.

    Is the word order of the phrase "less a laughing matter " common?

    I think it should be written as "a less laughing matter" like the preceding phrase "a more acceptable diagnosis."
    Am I right?


    yam

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    #2

    Re: less a laughing matter?

    '... a less laughing matter' is wrong.

    I'd say '... less of a laughing matter ...'

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: less a laughing matter?

    I feel a 'Why?' there somewhere: 'a more' but 'less a'...?

    'More' qualifies 'acceptable' (an adjective). The diagnosis is 'a more' acceptable one. 'Less' qualifies the noun phrase 'laughing matter', which needs its own determiner, 'a'. In the first case, the 'a' belongs to the noun phrase '[a] more acceptable diagnosis'; but in the second case the 'a' belongs to the noun phrase '[a] laughing matter'.

    b

    PS On re-reading, I think maybe I'm over-thinking the issue. If you're happy with Rover's flat 'No', that's fine.
    Last edited by BobK; 30-Oct-2014 at 16:01. Reason: Added PS

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