a 34 C

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VicNicSor

Banned
Russian
— You know, you need a bra. We're about the same size aren't we, a 34 C, right?
Switch, film

What is the reason for using the indefinite article here? Is the implied noun "bra"?
Thanks.
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I think the word implied is "size":
    I'm a [size] 12
    I'm a [size] 34C.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Well, I can't think of anything else:(.
    I just thought that if we have [a + noun phrase], then the article always refers to the last noun there. If, in "I'm a size 34C", the article refers to "size", then what grammatical function does "34C" have?...

    x-posted
     

    Delvo

    Senior Member
    American English
    The size, when used like a noun, refers to a person. She is a 34C and she thinks the other woman is also a 34C.

    I've seen similar abbreviations for other things that are distinguished based on some kind of measurement. For example, the caliber of a gun can be used as a noun, meaning "gun with that caliber", and an engine's displacement in liters or cubic centimeters can be used as a noun, meaning "engine with that displacement" or even "vehicle with an engine with that displacement".
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    The size, when used like a noun, refers to a person. She is a 34C and she thinks the other woman is also a 34C.

    I've seen similar abbreviations for other things that are distinguished based on some kind of measurement. For example, the caliber of a gun can be used as a noun, meaning "gun with that caliber", and an engine's displacement in liters or cubic centimeters can be used as a noun, meaning "engine with that displacement" or even "vehicle with an engine with that displacement".
    Or, as in a CALD example:
    a size 14 dress
    I.e., we can say she "wears a size 14 dress", or she's "a size 14 (person)", right?
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I thought so too, that's why I put it in the brackets, unlike "dress", but the article does refer to the implied "person/man/woman/etc", right?
    Yes, it does. Only people* are described as "a size 14." There are, however, various items of clothing that can be made in size 14 (in U.S. sizes), and they are intended for different types of people (women of slightly above average weight, men with large feet, boys about 10-12 years old, and more). You need context to know what kind of person is meant in a given situation.

    ____________________
    *In general, that is. There some other items that might be size 14, such as in dentistry, but most people wouldn't talk about them. I can imagine a dentist saying to an assistant "Give me a size 14, please" in the context of specific procedures, and not meaning a person. There are probably other situations like this, too.
     
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