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Thread: Explain please

  1. Unregistered

    Explain please

    Any mistakes nin these sentences? if so, why?
    What we need is the most perfect plan.
    What we need is a most perfect plan.

    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,403

    Re: Explain please

    Firstly, to say 'most perfect' is similar to saying, ' a little bit dead' - you either are or are not.
    something either is or isn't perfect - there are no degrees of perfection! Something is as good as it could possible be.

  2. stuartnz's Avatar
    Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • New Zealand
      • Current Location:
      • New Zealand

    • Join Date: Mar 2008
    • Posts: 1,370

    Re: Explain please

    I'm not a teacher, but because what David L. says is technically correct, you may want to stick with just "the perfect plan".

    That said, the phrase "most perfect" is not at all uncommon, even in works of acknowledged literary merit. Sometimes, it's done for emphatic effect, and sometimes it conveys a meaning that transcends the apparent redundancy of its literal meaning. Thus, you'll come across phrases like "very dead", "a little bit pregnant", and many others of similar construction. Here's a famous example of a closely-related construction:

    The Constitution of the United States of America

    We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
    Like most languages, English sometimes breaks its own rules for creativity's sake, and often it is richer for doing so. My advice would be, learn, understand and master "the rules", and then you can feel comfortable when you see them broken, or when you're ready to do some creative rule-breaking of your own. That way, you'll achieve a more perfect mastery of English.

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