a thriving weed

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quietdandelion

Banned
Formosa/Chinese
Meanwhile, Ged grew wild, like a thriving weed. Although he was proud and had a bad temper, he was helpful by nature.


Will you omit "a" before thriving weed or keep it, and why? Thanks.
 
  • Dempsey

    Member
    English, Australia
    You have to keep the "a". You could put "like thriving weeds" but it wouldn't sound right when talking about a single person.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    You have to keep the "a". You could put "like thriving weeds" but it wouldn't sound right when talking about a single person.
    I'm wondering, FranParis, about those weeds. You took thriving weed to be plural, I think. There's no doubt that we say things like the weeds in my garden; don't you think we can say the weed clogged the outlet pipe to mean the weed in general, and not a particular single weed? It's not like the fish in my pond. What I'm suggesting is that thriving weed needn't have plural force.

    Suppose we say Ged grew wild like thriving weed - doesn't weed have a general sense which isn't really plural? The sentence has a power for me - the image is really vital - and doesn't, to my ear, create a plural/singular clash. Do you think I'm just wrong? Or is it a possible thing to say?
     

    Dempsey

    Member
    English, Australia
    Ah, I see what you mean, Thomas. We use the word 'weed' in a singular/plural sense so often that it just sounds unnatural to say it like in the OP's sentence.
     
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