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  1. outofdejavu's Avatar
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    #1

    The use of "weigh"

    I saw in a piece of Taiwan local news:

    1. [He] stands a little shorter than 1.7 meters tall but weighed 111 kilograms.
    2. He now weighs a mere 79 kilograms.
    3. The son weighs 90 kilograms.

    I consulted a couple of dictionaries, and I didn't see example sentences put like the second one.
    Is the "a" in the second one optional? Or is it of an example of the differences between American English and British English? Or else?


    I would like to have native English speakers' comments.


    Best Regards,


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    #2

    Re: The use of "weigh"

    1. [He] stands a little shorter than 1.7 meters tall but weighed 111 kilograms.
    2. He now weighs a mere 79 kilograms.
    3. The son weighs 90 kilograms.

    I consulted a couple of dictionaries, and I didn't see example sentences put like the second one.
    Is the "a" in the second one optional? Or is it of an example of the differences between American English and British English? Or else?
    In the second sentence, the a is required. It's wrong to omit it. And no, it has nothing to do with American vs. British English. It's just plain old standard, correct English. And you may rest assured I am native speaker.

    Greg

  2. outofdejavu's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: The use of "weigh"

    Thank you, but can you please expound on the need of the "a" in "He now weighs a mere 79 kilograms"?
    Is it proper to insert an "a" before those numbers in the first and third sentences?

    Best Regards,


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    #4

    Re: The use of "weigh"

    Thank you, but can you please expound on the need of the "a" in "He now weighs a mere 79 kilograms"?
    Is it proper to insert an "a" before those numbers in the first and third sentences?
    As soon as you describe the weight, it requires an article. The others are not modified, and so no article should be used.

    Greg


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    #5

    Re: The use of "weigh"

    The indefinite article was long used before nouns of 'multitude':
    a dozen eggs
    a million dollars

    There has been a more modern extension of this. Compare:
    The police were confronted by two hundred angry youths.
    and
    The police were confronted by an estimated two hundred angry youths.

    When an adjective is included and precedes the noun, we use the indefinite article:
    The Great Wall of China is thirty feet high
    The Great Wall of China is an amazing thirty feet high.

    and
    He weighs 79 kilograms.
    He weighs a mere 79 kilograms.
    Last edited by David L.; 16-May-2009 at 05:21.

  3. outofdejavu's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: The use of "weigh"

    Given that it is "merely," the "a" should be omitted, right?
    He weighs merely 79 kilograms.


    Regards,

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    #7

    Re: The use of "weigh"

    how about "he weighs mere 79 kilograms"?

    thanks.

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    #8

    Re: The use of "weigh"

    Syntactically,"79 kilograms" IS a singular noun modified by the adjective "mere", which makes the indefinite article "a" mandatory in the complex noun phrase "a mere 79 kilograms".

    But "79 kilograms" IS an adverbial in "He weighs 79 kilograms", which makes "He weighs mere 79 kilograms" ungrammatical.


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    #9

    Re: The use of "weigh"

    "He weighs a mere 79 kilograms."

    The "a" is exactly the same thing as the "a," as in "They say the new gymnasium cost a whopping 3.5 billion yen," isn't it?

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    #10

    Re: The use of "weigh"

    Quote Originally Posted by Daruma View Post
    "He weighs a mere 79 kilograms."

    The "a" is exactly the same thing as the "a," as in "They say the new gymnasium cost a whopping 3.5 billion yen," isn't it?
    1...yes
    2...get rid of the second "as".
    3...Put a period after "yen", not a comma. Put the comma after the quotation mark following yen.

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