A dried English walnut

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Grablevskij

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Her hair was the color of a dried English walnut, rich and plentiful, and her complexion waxen—cream wax—-with lips of faint pink, and eyes that varied from ...


Could you explain the use of the indefinite article in this case to me, please?
I decided it is just a material noun and didn't put the article.

Michael
 

susiedqq

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This makes more sense to me:

Her hair was the color of dried English walnuts, rich and plentiful, and her complexion waxen—cream wax—-with lips of faint pink, and eyes that varied from ...

(a) one dried walnut is not rich and plentiful
 

Grablevskij

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Dreiser wrote it, not me. Just my teacher used this text in a test and I made a mistake.
And I would like to know why Dreiser wrote this way.

Michael
 

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For an answer to that, you would have to ask Dreiser. I suspect he preferred the sound of "a dried English walnut"'; to me it makes perfectly good sense to refer to a single dried walnut to describe hair colour than to many walnuts.
 

BobK

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:up: Also, if you translate it without the article and keep the singular, you change the sense of 'walnut' (the wood rather than the nut). Given the context, this would be obviously wrong.

b
 

Grablevskij

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Why the walnut is dried? As far as I can understand, a ripe nut is ready to eat.
I suppose the word dried is the key here. Because wood really can be dried, but I have not heard about dried Englis walnuts.

Michael
 

Anglika

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I suspect that the walnut was rather old and dried, and when that happens its skin will have turned a darkish brown. A fresh walnut has a light golden brown skin.

Maybe Dreiser had some on the table where he was writing and they gave him the idea for her hair colour.
 

riverkid

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Just my teacher used this text in a test and I made a mistake.


Michael

Hey Michael. How's tricks?

While we have a lot of freedom in adverb placement, your placement of 'just' is not all that natural, for your intended meaning. This placement carries a meaning like,

Just my teacher [and no one else] used this text in a test and I made a mistake.

My teacher just used this text in a test and I made a mistake.
 

BobK

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Or (the way I understood it, but making allowance for a foreign speaker [because this interpretation is not normal]) "[It is] just [that] my teacher used this text in a test and [as a result, understandably] I made a mistake."

b
 

Grablevskij

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Thank you very much.

Michael
 
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