Masterclass

Englishmypassion

Senior Member
India - Hindi
Hello Everyone,

It's one of those hundreds of thousands of definitions that all dictionaries purposely make confusing for learners by using the word especially.

Masterclass

Oxford: A class, especially in music, given by an expert to highly talented students.
WR Random House: a small class for advanced students, esp. a class in performance skills conducted by a distinguished musician.
Collins: a session of tuition by an expert, esp a musician, for exceptional students, usually given in public or on television

Can a masterclass be in anything else than music? For example "The chess/rummy champion gave a masterclass...."

Thanks.
 
  • DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Yes: those definitions including "especially" simply reflect the way that the word or expression is commonly used. They don't mean that's the only way you can use them: the Oxford definition, which is the first one you've quoted, also includes the example ‘special masterclasses in microelectronics’.

    I would happily accept a chess champion giving a masterclass, but I wouldn't personally talk about masterclasses in French Grammar (although that might work for some people ;)).
     

    Englishmypassion

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi
    Yes: those definitions including "especially" simply reflect the way that the word or expression is commonly used. They don't mean that's the only way you can use them.
    Yes, that's what especially suggests but a lot of times the usage given seems to be the only one, hence the confusion.
    Thanks a lot for your kind answer. :)
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I think it's very useful indeed to be told how the word is most often used. I rarely come across "masterclass" used for anything other than music and acting. "Especially" implies "not exclusively", so you shouldn't be surprised if it's used more broadly. Obviously a dictionary can't list all possible uses.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    I can't remember if I've ever seen a masterclass (on television) for anything else, but in theory actors, painters, and potters could give them: displaying their own mastery, and watching as a group of others try separately.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The term masterclass is “borrowed” quite widely, for all sorts of workshops, seminars, etc. The Guardian has a whole Masterclass programme, covering numerous aspects of writing and social media.

    And Emp, there is even such a thing as a Rummy Masterclass (Rummy Master Class).
     

    Englishmypassion

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi
    I think it's very useful indeed to be told how the word is most often used. I rarely come across "masterclass" used for anything other than music and acting. "Especially" implies "not exclusively", so you shouldn't be surprised if it's used more broadly. Obviously a dictionary can't list all possible uses.
    I'm not saying dictionaries should not use especially at all, but the problem is that they use especially even when there is only one meaning, which makes it hard for learners to understand whether they are using a redundant especially like that (to be safe, just in case) or they really mean it.
    Thanks a lot.
     

    Englishmypassion

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi
    Do they? Can you give examples?
    To give an example from our own dictionary will be the best, right?:)

    Fiction

    Oxford: Literature in the form of prose, especially novels, that describes imaginary events and people.

    Random House: the class of literature comprising works of imaginative narration, esp. in prose form.

    Especially is the most-misused word in all dictionaries, the second most-misused word being usually. Sometimes feel like searching for the keyword especially in all the dictionaries and deleting all of them! ;)
     
    Last edited:

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    To give an example from our own dictionary will be the best, right?:)

    Fiction

    Oxford: Literature in the form of prose, especially novels, that describes imaginary events and people.

    Random House: the class of literature comprising works of imaginative narration, esp. in prose form.

    Especially is the most-misused word in all dictionaries, the second most-misused word being usually. Sometimes feel like searching for the keyword especially in all the dictionaries and deleting all of them! ;)
    So if I write a poem telling a story about a unicorn, it's non-fiction? It's true - there really are unicorns and everything in my non-prose story actually happened! :eek:
     

    Englishmypassion

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi
    So if I write a poem telling a story about a unicorn, it's non-fiction? It's true - there really are unicorns and everything in my non-prose story actually happened! :eek:
    Please just compare the two definitions, which are likely to confuse learners (I didn't define fiction).
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I’m surprised that you object so strongly. All those examples of especially in definitions seem accurate, and therefore reasonable, to me.

    The word fiction is applied mostly to novels, rather than poetry, plays, films, or any other such format. And novels are usually written in prose. Likewise, a masterclass is traditionally more applicable to music and the performing arts than to anything else.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    Fiction
    Oxford:
    Literature in the form of prose, especially novels, that describes imaginary events and people.
    Random House: the class of literature comprising works of imaginative narration, esp. in prose form.
    We have these two different definitions of fiction, and you allege that both of them abuse the word "especially" on the grounds that what follows it is the only possibility.

    Let's take the Oxford one first. Just to avoid misunderstanding, the relative clause here modifies literature (or perhaps prose) but not novels. If you believe that novels are the only kind of thing that "literature in the form of prose" can be, I would say you are mistaken.

    The Random House one is a bit different, but again you would be mistaken if you believed that "prose form" is the only possible kind of imaginative narration.
     
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