Not exactly en suite, but I suppose I shouldn’t moan.

Couch Tomato

Senior Member
Russian & Dutch
Fredericko stopped at a bunk bed near the window. ‘This is the best bed in the hostel,’ he told me proudly. I couldn’t work out why, until I met a lad from Hull who explained that if you needed to empty your bladder in the night you could use the window instead of having to walk to the toilets. Not exactly en suite, but I suppose I shouldn’t moan.
(An Idiot Abroad: The Travel Diaries of Karl Pilkington - Karl Pilkington)

Why didn't he say 'Not exactly an en suite'? According to the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English "en suite" is a countable noun, so how can we explain this uncountable use here?

What do you think?

Thank you in advance.
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    En suite began life as a preposition phrase meaning roughly "connected" (the bathroom is en suite with the bedroom) and then came to be used as a modifier (the bedroom has an en suite bathroom), and finally it can be used as a noun on its own (the bedroom has an en suite), specifically meaning an en suite bathroom.
     

    Giorgio Spizzi

    Senior Member
    Italian
    ‘This is the best bed in the hostel,’ he told me proudly.

    This made me think with sympathy of the cohorts of students whose grey matter I bombarded with the notion that in case of direct speech and the mention of the addressee the correct form was " said to me".

    You live amd learn...

    GS :)
     

    Couch Tomato

    Senior Member
    Russian & Dutch
    En suite began life as a preposition phrase meaning roughly "connected" (the bathroom is en suite with the bedroom) and then came to be used as a modifier (the bedroom has an en suite bathroom), and finally it can be used as a noun on its own (the bedroom has an en suite), specifically meaning an en suite bathroom.
    Thanks, entanlgedbank.

    I see, so here it means that the "toilet" and the room weren't connected, though I don't understand the remark as a presumably the window was connected to the room.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Rather than having a toilet connected to his room, he had a window he could urinate out of. It wasn't as good as a connected bathroom, but it was better (easier) than having to walk to the toilets.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    I suppose I avoided answering the question, didn't I? 'En suite' formerly meant "connected" of any two rooms, but I think now it's always narrowed to meaning a bathroom or toilet is connected: we wouldn't say a kitchen was en suite with a living room. And he's using it at some point along its scale of meaning, adjectivally "connected like a typical bathroom or toilet is to a bedroom".
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Why didn't he say 'Not exactly an en suite'? According to the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English "en suite" is a countable noun, so how can we explain this uncountable use here?
    This seems to be another example of hideous advice from Longman.
     
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