a rectangular-shaped / rectangular

Discussion in 'English Only' started by DrJuanNadie, Jan 16, 2014.

  1. DrJuanNadie

    DrJuanNadie Senior Member

    Barcelona
    Spanish - Spain
    Hi to everyone.

    Is it proper to use the adjective "rectangular-shaped" or is it more adequate to say just "rectangular"?

    In particular:

    I remembered the three rectangular-shaped and immobile clouds of my world.

    :confused:

    Thank you! :thumbsup:
     
  2. Florentia52

    Florentia52 Modwoman in the attic

    Wisconsin
    English - United States
    "Rectangular" is adequate; "rectangular-shaped" would be unnecessary in any context I can think of.

    I have to say that I have no idea what your sentence means. Is it from a poem?
     
  3. DrJuanNadie

    DrJuanNadie Senior Member

    Barcelona
    Spanish - Spain
    It's from my novel, which I'm currently translating into English. Well, "rectangular" it is then, thank you!
     
  4. DrJuanNadie

    DrJuanNadie Senior Member

    Barcelona
    Spanish - Spain
    << Added to previous thread. >>

    Hello everybody.

    The text with my doubt:

    His face is somewhat rectangular-shaped, giving him a virile aspect that, in all obviousness, is very valued in your world.

    The question: I think in this case "rectangular-shaped" emphasizes the physical connotation of the adjective, so it's a better choice than just saying "rectangular", but I'm not sure whether rectangular-shaped sounds vulgar or unnecessary or somehow weird...

    What do you think?

    I've written that text myself as a part of my novel (which I'm translating from Spanish). If you notice any mistake, please tell.

    Please, bear in mind that I have decided not to use in my novel any adverbs or adjectives ending in -ly.

    I do appreciate all answers, opinions and suggestions. Everybody is welcome.

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 17, 2014
  5. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Elsewhere
    English English
    Hullo DJN. Hmmm, rectangular-shaped sounds kind of redundant to me. If I wanted to say his face looked (specifically) like an actual rectangle, I'd say His face is shaped somewhat like a rectangle. Otherwise I'd just say His face was somewhat rectangular:)
     
  6. DrJuanNadie

    DrJuanNadie Senior Member

    Barcelona
    Spanish - Spain
    Thank you, Ewie. I don't know where I learned that "rectangular-shaped" expression, but I'm going to forget it right away.
     
  7. e2efour

    e2efour Senior Member

    England (aged 76)
    UK English
    I think rectangular-shaped is sometimes useful and preferable to rectangular.

    For example, you could say Portugal and Turkey are rectangular-shaped countries. (Have a look at a map if you don't believe me!)
    I would find rectangular country odd. This would suggest to me a country formed by straight lines.

    But, in general, it's a matter of style. Some might prefer to say that a country has the shape of a rectangle.
    If you like the sound of rectangular-shaped, by all means use it. There's nothing wrong with it, although just rectangular might sound better in certain contexts.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2014
  8. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    I would recommend either rectangle-shaped or rectangular; either means in the shape of a rectangle. "Rectangular-shaped" = "shaped in a rectangle shape", which is rather redundant.
     
  9. DrJuanNadie

    DrJuanNadie Senior Member

    Barcelona
    Spanish - Spain
    Thank you E2efour and Parla for your contributions to this topic. I find them both really interesting. It is a pleasure to receive such input from other people who care about language.

    I would like, though, if that were at all possible, to know what E2efour thinks about Parla's comment. Not to start an argument, but just because I would like to know his/her point of view about what I think is a very valid point.

    Thanks everybody, at any rate.
     
  10. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    Whist we await Parla, I support e2efour's idea. Portugal and Turkey are rectangular-shaped countries. = Portugal and Turkey are countries that are shaped somewhat like a rectangle.

    "It is lamppost-shaped" is quite intelligible, as is it is any <concrete noun>-shaped.
     
  11. e2efour

    e2efour Senior Member

    England (aged 76)
    UK English
    Rectangle-shaped is like square-shaped or crescent-shaped (noun + adjective). I just don't happened to have heard it before. It is not listed in the OED, which gives three examples of rectangular-shaped.
    Another productive structure (similar to rectangular-shaped) is adjective + noun+(e)d, e.g. blue-eyed, snub-nosed, heavy-handed.

    I'm not sure why Parla defines rectangular-shaped as"shaped in a rectangle shape", which seems to me to introduce redundancy which is not there. I would define it as having a shape like that of a rectangle (or as defined by PaulQ).
     
  12. DrJuanNadie

    DrJuanNadie Senior Member

    Barcelona
    Spanish - Spain
    At this point, I'm starting to get somewhat fond of "rectangular-shaped" for certain contexts. I like the sound of "a rectangular-shaped face" whereas I'd rather say a "rectangular slab". So, finally, as sometimes happens, I'm back at the beginning and my character will forever have a rectangular-shaped face, as I feel that emphasizes that rectangular applies to his face as a whole.

    Thanks to everybody. It's been really fun. :cool:
     
  13. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    Note that we (E2efour/Paul and I) speak different varieties of English. Perhaps that explains it.

    My premise is that rectangular being an adjective describing a shape, adding "-shaped" to it is superfluous and wrong. (Would you add "-shaped" to circular or triangular as well?)
     
  14. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

    I agree entirely. There are many ways to express the thought of "approximately rectangular," without taking a plunge into the redundancy abyss.
     
  15. e2efour

    e2efour Senior Member

    England (aged 76)
    UK English
    It seems common enough in the USA.

    For example, in The Official Gazette of the US Trademark & Patent Office (http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Ew_RAAAAMAAJ&q=%22rectangular+shaped%22&dq=%22rectangular+shaped%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=U7TaUs6QBYaThgfnuICQCg&redir_esc=y):"a tool with rectangular shaped head portion, and a tool with oval shaped head portion."

    Also in A Guide to America's Stonehenge (http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=JUP_lomzFpQC&pg=PA5&dq=%22rectangular+shaped%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=U7TaUs6QBYaThgfnuICQCg&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=%22rectangular%20shaped%22&f=false):"Further along the wall is a triangular shaped standing stone. The natural rectangular shaped boulder was paired with the triangular standing stone for protection in this wall." The author was American.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2014
  16. DrJuanNadie

    DrJuanNadie Senior Member

    Barcelona
    Spanish - Spain
    Personally, I like redundancy. Nothing more redundant than beauty.

    :D

    What is emphasis if not redundancy?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 19, 2014
  17. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Elsewhere
    English English
    I agree entirely as well.
    His face was kind of rectangular
    ... sort of rectangular
    ... vaguely rectangular
    ... reminiscent of a rectangle
    ... a bit rectangular
    ... a bit like a rectangle
    ... something like a rectangle
    etc. etc.
     
  18. DrJuanNadie

    DrJuanNadie Senior Member

    Barcelona
    Spanish - Spain
    Please, forgive the sarcasm, but, could a rectangular-faced fellow have a rectangular-shaped face? :eek:
     
  19. NoDakWolf New Member

    English - USA
    I would just use rectangular. To me it means something along the lines of "having the shape of a rectangle." Now, I am not a writer, so if you are using rectangular shaped to convey something more, I may not be of any help there.

    If it helps the feel or style of what you are writing then it is up to you to decide.

    The only way adding "shaped" would make sense to me would be to clarify that rectangular is referring to a shape and not some other quality, "rectangular scented" or "rectangular textured." If there is no confusion that what you are referring to is shape, why add it?
     
  20. DrJuanNadie

    DrJuanNadie Senior Member

    Barcelona
    Spanish - Spain
    The confusion could come from a nuance that lies in the fact that rectangular also means "placed or having parts placed at right angles" (Concise Oxford English Dictionary), as the wise E2efour tried to point out (quite unsuccessfully, I might add). So a rectangular face could mean that its features were rectangular, whereas a rectangular-shaped face leaves no room for interpretation.

    That is why A RECTANGULAR-SHAPED FACE my character will have. I say.
     
  21. NoDakWolf New Member

    English - USA
    Perfect! Good luck on the rest of the translation.
     
  22. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Elsewhere
    English English
    Not to me it couldn't. No way. Not ever. That would be a face of rectangles or a face with rectangular features.

    But, you seem to have made up your mind to go with the minority opinion, DJN, so there's not much point continuing trying to convince you, is there?
     
  23. Florentia52

    Florentia52 Modwoman in the attic

    Wisconsin
    English - United States
    :thumbsup:
     
  24. DrJuanNadie

    DrJuanNadie Senior Member

    Barcelona
    Spanish - Spain
    First and foremost: thank you all for your opinions an participation.

    Anyhow, Ewie and Florentia52, I'm willing to admit that "rectangular-shaped" is an unnecessary arabesque, but I like it to refer to a face. If in time I happen to end up being considered a great writer, it'll be part of my geniality; if not, it'll be another bad choice.

    :D
     
  25. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
  26. nomachina New Member

    English - USA
    None of what I'm about to say has any real weight. The choice of words is your own, but here is my two cents...

    Rectangular-shaped is only one step away from rectangular-ish.

    Rectangular means in the shape of a rectangle. When applied to an object that is clearly unable to actually be a rectangle, such as a face, one would assume rectangular to be a hyperbole (which I think is correct).

    By saying rectangular-shaped, you might lead some to believe that this mans face was actually close to resembling a shoe box. Then again, I'm an engineer and I take things WAY to literally.
     
  27. DrJuanNadie

    DrJuanNadie Senior Member

    Barcelona
    Spanish - Spain
    About Google NGram: Woah. I didn't now that tool. I love it. :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

    Thanks, PaulQ.
     
  28. DrJuanNadie

    DrJuanNadie Senior Member

    Barcelona
    Spanish - Spain
    Well, that was one of the initial fears, indeed, that motivated this post. But I see that some serious native speakers (maybe not the majority, but some) do not consider it that way.

    Your two cents are more than welcome. :thumbsup:
     

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