a (whole) paper bag (full) of bank notes

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wanabee

Senior Member
Japanese
Dear all,

1. There was a paper bag of bank notes lying in front of her house.
2. There was a paper bag full of bank notes lying in front of her house.
3. There was a whole paper bag full of bank notes lying in front of her house.

I made those up. Could you tell me if each of my interpretations below is correct?
The bag in number one may be just half filled with bills.
I feel that the bag in No.2 is filled to the top edge with money.
Number 3. seems to be brimming with money, maybe it's overflowing.
 
  • dharasty

    Senior Member
    American English
    I agree with your interpretation of 1 and 2.

    Sentence 3 is a bit more emphatic, since "whole bag" and "bag full" basically mean the same. To me it doesn't necessarily the bag #3 is more full than bag #2, it just means the speaker is more impressed by how full it is.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I agree with that. If I were to use #3, I would expect something other than "whole" to give me an idea of the size of the bag, e.g. There was a grocery bag full of banknotes. (Note that banknotes is one word.)
     

    Wordnip

    Senior Member
    British English
    Dear all,

    1. There was a paper bag of bank notes lying in front of her house.
    2. There was a paper bag full of bank notes lying in front of her house.
    3. There was a whole paper bag full of bank notes lying in front of her house.

    I made those up. Could you tell me if each of my interpretations below is correct?
    The bag in number one may be just half filled with bills.
    I feel that the bag in No.2 is filled to the top edge with money.
    Number 3. seems to be brimming with money, maybe it's overflowing.
    I agree with dharasty. However, it may be worth mentioning that 'a paper bag of ...' does suggest a (largish) quantity. One may expect it to be qualified if there were only a few notes in it. To avoid giving the impression that the bag was pretty full you might say, 'there was a paper bag with banknotes in it ...' or 'there was a paper bag with some bank notes in it ...'
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I agree with dharasty. However, it may be worth mentioning that 'a paper bag of ...' does suggest a (largish) quantity. One may expect it to be qualified if there were only a few notes in it. To avoid giving the impression that the bag was pretty full you might say, 'there was a paper bag with banknotes in it ...' or 'there was a paper bag with some bank notes in it ...'
    I agree with that, too. It went through my mind, so I'm glad you mentioned it. :thumbsup:
     

    dharasty

    Senior Member
    American English
    However, it may be worth mentioning that 'a paper bag of ...' does suggest a (largish) quantity.
    Since these are made up sentences, I'm not quibbling... just considering other possible connotations.

    Yes, a "bag of money" suggests a largish quantity -- this is a general idiom for "a lot of money" or even "rich": "He has bags of money."

    But when you add "paper bag of money", it could infer "a large paper bag" (like a grocery bag) and therefore a lot of money...

    ... or not. Some paper bags are kind of small, like the smallish paper bag I take my lunch in. In this case "paper bag of money" might be used to refer to how unusual the situation is, and imply something like "I found some money, but -- oddly -- in a paper bag, not in a wallet."

    Again: not quibbling! Just mentioning an additional connotation that the speaker/writer might want to clarify by additional context.
     

    Wordnip

    Senior Member
    British English
    I agree with that, too. It went through my mind, so I'm glad you mentioned it. :thumbsup:
    Thanks. The trouble is, there are so many nuances which can be brought out, even in the simplest expressions, that it can make what should be a simple answer become far too complex. Almost to the point of pedantry. I was wondering if that was so with my reply but I'm glad it had occurred to you too.
     

    wanabee

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thank you very much again, dharasty, Copyright, Wordnip!
    By the way, how would you read this?
    . There was a whole paper bag full of bank notes lying in front of her house.
    A whole paper bag that's full of banknotes? Or a whole-paper-bag-full of banknotes?
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Probably "a whole-paper-bag-full of banknotes" – but it doesn't really tell us anything because there is no standard size of paper bag that we all mentally share.
     
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