Fantastic 4/Magic 7/Magnificant 7

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peter199083

Senior Member
Mandarin
I watched a British film Starter for 10 and bumped into a phrase- the Fantastic Four. University of Bristol was organising a team for University Challenge, a quiz television programme. After the four-person team was formed, a member called the team 'the Fantastic Four', showing their condifence in my view.

I also happen to know that the best seven business schools in the US are collectively dubbed 'Magic Seven'.

In memoray of Prof Joan Woodward at Imperical College London, a scholar wrote:
She (Joan Woodward) was invited to join a group of the top 7 (organisational) theorists which called itself the Magnificent Seven.

Question: Do you have any similar rules in English? May I coin such phrases as 'Perfect 11' to mean a football team, or 'Wonderful Three' to represent the top three athletes winning medals in a game? Any comments are welcome.
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I don't think any rules are involved when people use something like "The Fantastic Four" or "The Magnificent Seven". Both those titles are well-known to many native speakers because they were used as names for comic-book characters (The Fantastic Four) and movie characters (The Magnificent Seven). *

    You can certainly invent some title like "The Perfect Eleven", but people might not find it amusing if your phrase doesn't reuse a title that people have seen before in some work from popular culture.

    *Linked to Wikipedia articles on these titles.
     
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    JustKate

    Senior Member
    I am not quite sure what you're asking. All of the examples you cite are in English, so obviously such constructions are possible in English - the Big Ten (an athletic conference for Midwestern universities - I believe there are now actually 11 schools in it, but it's still called the Big Ten), the Fantastic Four, the Fab Four (used originally for the Beatles, I think), The Magnificent Seven (originally a movie starring Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach, Steve McQueen and Charles Bronson), etc.

    As for whether you can coin such phrases, the answer is yes - there's nothing stopping you. I'd recommend that you don't do so, though, at least not very often. It sounds meaningful only to those readers who agree with you that that's the perfect football team or that those three particular athletes are indeed wonderful.

    (Cross-posted with Owlman, with whom I agree)
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It is not easy to come up with a name that sounds good. One trick is to use alliteration as in Fantastic Four.

    Apart from that it is necessary to have some sense of poetry. In my opinion "Magnificent Seven" has poetry but "Magic Seven" doesn't. It's a personal opinion.

    Wonderful Three does not have a sense of poetry. :( (in my opinion)
     
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    peter199083

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    the Big Ten (an athletic conference for Midwestern universities - I believe there are now actually 11 schools in it, but it's still called the Big Ten), the Fantastic Four, the Fab Four (used originally for the Beatles, I think), The Magnificent Seven (originally a movie starring Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach, Steve McQueen and Charles Bronson), etc.
    Thank you for your listing. It seems that natives only recognise those phrases with a historical/cultural heritage.
     

    JustKate

    Senior Member
    I wouldn't go quite that far, but it's true that this particular structure is most effective when new examples remind readers of an existing one. And as Biffo said, alliteration helps.
     
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