how/so/too beautiful 'a' creature [article]

Discussion in 'English Only' started by aisha93, Apr 24, 2013.

  1. aisha93

    aisha93 Senior Member

    Arabic/Persian(larestani)
    Hello

    Can you please tell me what difference does the article (a) makes or adds in the following sentences:

    "The King himself, old as he was, could not help watching her, and telling the Queen softly that it was a long time since he had seen so beautiful and lovely a creature."

    "how beautiful a girl she is!"


    First time I read this structure I thought it is wrong, but I can see that it is very widely used.

    I'd be glad to hear your opinions about this usage of (a).

    Thanks
     
  2. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    Source, please.
     
  3. aisha93

    aisha93 Senior Member

    Arabic/Persian(larestani)
  4. velisarius

    velisarius Senior Member

    Greece
    British English (Sussex)
    "how beautiful a girl she is!" may be widely used, but not by native English speakers, as far as I know. "What a beautiful girl she is!" or "How beautiful she is!" are both correct.

    The first sentence does need the article: "so beautiful and lovely a​ creature".
     
  5. aisha93

    aisha93 Senior Member

    Arabic/Persian(larestani)
    Hello

    Are these two sentences the same? and is the second one correct?

    - This is a too serious situation
    - This is too serious a situation
     
  6. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    - This is a too serious situation :cross:
    - This is too serious a situation :tick:
     
  7. aisha93

    aisha93 Senior Member

    Arabic/Persian(larestani)
    Thank you Keith.

    But why would that be wrong when you use the same construction by saying "very" instead of "too"?
    i.e. > This is a very serious situation.

    Because both "very" and "too" are adverbs
     
  8. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    Only the second one is correct.

    In "so beautiful and lovely a creature."

    "how beautiful a girl she is!"


    You should understand a as an example of a ->
    "
    so beautiful and lovely an example of a creature."

    "how beautiful
    an example of a girl she is!"


    You will note that the sentences are inverted and, arranged in the normal manner, would read
    " such a beautiful and lovely example of a creature."

    "She is such a beautiful example of a girl!"
     
  9. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    So and too are a special type of adverb. Each can be followed by an adjective, which it modifies, and by a phrase that modifies it:

    A girl so beautiful that she can never go unnoticed [The that clause modifies so.]
    A girl too beautiful to ignore [The infinitive modifies too.]

    Such an adverb goes either after the noun that the adjective modifies, as above, or before the article governing the noun:

    So beautiful a girl that she can never go unnoticed
    Too beautiful a girl to ignore

    It does not belong between an article and the noun it governs because the adverb has to remain open to being modified.

    How is an exclamatory, interrogative, or relative word, and it does not belong between an article and the noun it governs because it needs to be free to come forward, either to make its clause an exclamation or question, or to subordinate it in another clause:

    How beautiful a girl is she?
    How beautiful a girl she is!
    You just don't know how beautiful a girl she is.

    The only exception I know of is with hyphenation:

    A so-beautiful-she-can-never-go-unnoticed girl
    An all-too-beautiful girl

    How might work in an in situ question:

    She is a most extremely beautiful girl.
    You say she is a how beautiful girl?

    That does not look right to me, but I am sure I have heard such things.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2013
  10. aisha93

    aisha93 Senior Member

    Arabic/Persian(larestani)
    ^
    Thank you very much sir.
    Perfect clarification.
     

Share This Page