a snooze of a speech

Discussion in 'English Only' started by milanforart, Aug 21, 2015.

  1. milanforart

    milanforart Member

    Chinese
  2. holymoses Senior Member

    UK
    English - UK
    a boring speech
     
  3. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    "A snooze of a speech" -> "An X of a Y" -> a Y that is like the main attribute of X. (in this case: "a speech that was so boring it was like snoozing.")

    "The new Ford Possum is a dream of a car." -> a car you dream about -> a beautiful car
    "The new Ford Possum is a dog of a car." -> a car that is filled with problems -> a horrible car
    "The new Ford Possum is a beast of a car." -> a very powerful car.

    Positive or negative depending on context and the meaning of X.
     
  4. milanforart

    milanforart Member

    Chinese
    Thank you for the explanation. So it's also correct to say something like " Meg is a role model of a student", "David is a dream of a man"?
     
  5. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    " Meg is a role model of a student", -> this is possible but it is not the usual use. Usually, in "Subject is an X of a Y." X is figurative rather than literal. "It was a storm of a speech."

    "David is a dream of a man"? :tick:

    Older constructions in the manner tend to be obscure idioms: "We had a whale (something very big) of a time!" "He's a broth (powerful, fine example) of a boy (IrishE)"
     
  6. milanforart

    milanforart Member

    Chinese
    Thank you, PaulQ, I learned a lot from you responses. A broth of a boy, OH, what kind of a boy that can be? :)
     
  7. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    I looked up the origins of "A broth of a boy.": OED ->
    Phrases. †to make white broth of, said of boiling to death (as a poisoner). a broth of a boy: the essence of what a boy should be, a downright good fellow (colloq. Irish).
    ...
    1843 C. E. Tonna Judah's Lion 131 Papa says you are the broth of a boy, for taking care of me.
     
  8. milanforart

    milanforart Member

    Chinese
    Thanks, PaulQ, I am indebted to you.

    She is a rose (lotus, sunflower) of a woman. I guess this should be right? This phrase needs imagination.
     
  9. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    Not really, it is too direct.

    The construction is very hard for a non-native to use as there are no rules or formulas: Perhaps if you think of "It was like an X" where X is an unusual, but appropriate, example of a specific trait, this might help...

    "The meal had been cooked by a mouse of a woman - Mrs Bradshaw, who had been the cook for 15 years." <- small and timid.
    "It was a devil of a job." -> it was a very difficult job that tested your patience.
    "The war was a terrible loss for the country - the flower of its youth was/were cut down." <- its young men were killed.
     
  10. Glenfarclas Senior Member

    Chicago
    English (American)
    I agree with everything you said, up to here. This one is a different structure, though. It's like "the cream of the crop" or "the best of the best."

    "A devil of a job" --> The job is metaphorically like a devil. :tick:
    "The cream of the crop" --> The entire crop is metaphorically like cream. :cross:
     

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