a very musical family

< Previous | Next >

philanguy

Senior Member
MotherEarth;Chinese
Hi,

--Is "a very musical family" very natural and idiomatic in the following sample? Besides, is "of" optional? Many thanks to you?

--She comes from a very musical family. Both (of) her parents sing in band and her sister plays the piano.
 
  • bpipoly

    Senior Member
    English, United States
    To answer the simplest question first, the "of" is optional. The sentence needs an "a" or a "the" before band, though.

    Second, the expression "very musical family" seems pretty literal to me, so I would say it is not idiomatic. It is rather common.

    She comes from a very musical family. Both (of) her parents sing in a band and her sister plays the piano.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    "She comes from a very musical family" is good.

    For the second part I would certainly have added the "of". Thinking about it, people do omit it - I wouldn't naturally do so, so am not sure of when it might happen. It sounds colloquial to me, but perhaps for others it is normal.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    This was posted at the same time so I'll comment now -

    To answer the simplest question first, the "of" is optional. The sentence needs an "a" or a "the" before band, though.
    Agreed - I missed that.
    Second, the expression "very musical family" seems pretty literal to me, so I would say it is not idiomatic. It is rather common.
    I don't understand what you mean. Things that are literal can be idiomatic:confused: If things are common they are almost certainly idomatic (again confused).

    In any case "she comes from a very musical family" sounds good, idiomatic and normal to me.
     

    bpipoly

    Senior Member
    English, United States
    An idiom is a phrase where the words together have a meaning that is different from the dictionary definitions of the individual words. Musical can mean devoted to or skilled in music, thus it is not idiomatic.

    The only situations where you need the "of" is when Both is followed by another pronoun.

    Both of them are studying math.
    Both of them are in the choir.

    In most other cases, both will work fine and have the same meaning as a pronoun or an adjective.

    Both of the girls are fine.
    Both the girls are fine.

    I would necessarily use the second one in formal or academic writing.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    An idiom is a phrase where the words together have a meaning that is different from the dictionary definitions of the individual words. Musical can mean devoted to or skilled in music, thus it is not idiomatic.
    I don't understand what you mean - I suspect you are assuming that idiom equals "set-phrase". If so, it doesn't necessarily - your link doesn't work so I can't check your misapprehension, but idiomatic usually means "an acceptable marriage of certain words in a phrase". You are mixing up meaning 2 and 3 here . In any case, "she comes from a very musical family" is a perfectly idiomatic phrase to my understanding of the word. Let's see what others think.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    The only situations where you need the "of" is when Both is followed by another pronoun.

    Both of them are studying math.
    Both of them are in the choir.

    In most other cases, both will work fine and have the same meaning as a pronoun or an adjective.

    Both of the girls are fine.
    Both the girls are fine.

    I would necessarily use the second one in formal or academic writing.
    To answer your edit - Why would you necessarily use the second one in formal or academic writing if both (quoting you) "will work fine and have the same meaning as a pronoun or an adjective"?
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top