reached (a, the) grandmaster level

A quote from The New Yorker:

There appears not to be on record any case (including Bobby Fischer) where a person reached grandmaster level with less than about a decade's intense preoccupation with the game.
The Oxford Dictionary provides instances of the word level being used as both count and noncount noun.
For example:
at six he could play chess at an advanced level
But:
[mass noun]: women do better at degree level
Could we spatchcock an article (A or THE) before "grandmaster level" in the quoted sentence, turning it from a mass noun to a count one?
 
  • e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    At an advanced level is the "odd one out".
    The other two expressions are like a lift moving upwards: it can be at level 4 or level 23. The particular levels mentioned are the progressions reached (grandmaster or graduate).
    Advanced does not refer to a specific level, just a higher level.

    If you want to use an article, you could say "at the level of grandmaster/graduate".

    (Thank you for the use of spatchcock. I thought you could only spatchcock a chicken.)
     
    Thanks, e2efour!

    (I'd picked that funny use of "spatchcock" in New Scientist, looking for a quote with another word: "But spatchcocked into the proceedings at the fag-end of the morning was a crisp and useful debate on toxic substances." (0: )
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I am doubtful about "at a level of grandmaster" since it suggests a specific level or range of levels.
    This is not true for "at a speed of X".

    That said, I would probably not react to seeing it.
     

    TommyGun

    Senior Member
    A quote from The New Yorker:
    The Oxford Dictionary provides instances of the word level being used as both count and noncount noun.
    The other two expressions are like a lift moving upwards: it can be at level 4 or level 23. The particular levels mentioned are the progressions reached (grandmaster or graduate).
    It is interesting, how do you feel the word "level" here - as an uncountable noun or a level that has a name?

    For example, the phrases "page 7", "level 1", "level 4" feel as "having a name", we don't need to use "the" because the levels is determined by numbers.

    Another example is the word "position", which is used uncountably in sentences like "If an adverb is in mid-position in a sentence, it goes with the verb."
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    A good test for countable/uncountable nouns is simply to place much or many before them:

    "She has many knowledge."
    "She has much knowledge."
    "She has many cats."
    "She has much cats."

    The problem with "grandmaster level" and "mid-position" is that there is only one of them. They form a set of which they are the only member. This does not conform to the concept of an uncountable noun that is an homogeneous group.

    Another problem with "mid-position" is "If an adverb is in a mid-position in a sentence, it goes with the verb." is correct. This is caused by the qualification (in this case by "mid-") of what was an uncountable noun: "She has a good/working/detailed knowledge of French."
     

    TommyGun

    Senior Member
    Thank you, PaulQ
    The problem with "grandmaster level" and "mid-position" is that there is only one of them. They form a set of which they are the only member.
    I see them as an abstract notion, generic terms that nevertheless can be applied to tangible objects. Like

    When I passed the church, I heard the ringing of bells. ("bell" are an abstract notion, although they are the bells that belongs to the church)
    Please hand in your essay at the start of lecture.

    Do you agree?

    Another problem with "mid-position" is "If an adverb is in a mid-position in a sentence, it goes with the verb." is correct. This is caused by the qualification (in this case by "mid-") of what was an uncountable noun: "She has a good/working/detailed knowledge of French."
    Then, why can't we also qualify the words "level" and "weather", and this should not be incorrect:
    He reached a grandmaster level.
    He plays chess at a grandmaster level.
    We are having a terrible weather.


    Strangely, according to statistics, nobody would qualify "weather" in such a way.
     

    TommyGun

    Senior Member
    As to "at a level of grandmaster".
    At an advanced level is the "odd one out".
    The other two expressions are like a lift moving upwards: it can be at level 4 or level 23. The particular levels mentioned are the progressions reached (grandmaster or graduate).
    Advanced does not refer to a specific level, just a higher level.
    I am doubtful about "at a level of grandmaster" since it suggests a specific level or range of levels.
    This is not true for "at a speed of X".
    You just said that "grandmaster level" implies a lift, an element in a progression. Then "at a level of grandmaster" could also suggest a progression of levels.
     
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