The train was a football special

audiolaik

Senior Member
Polish
Hello,

While reading the book Among the Thugs, I cames across the following sentence:

"The train was a football special, and it had been taken over by supprosters."

I have been wondering how often the word special tends to function as a noun. (At least, it seems to be the case in the example.)

I have done some look-ups, and it turned out that the noun special is used in reference to a television programme made for a particular reason or occasion and which is not part of a series, a meal that is available in a restaurant on a particular day which is not usually available and a product that is being sold at a reduced price for a short period. SOURCE

Thank you!
 
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  • Au101

    Senior Member
    England, English (UK)
    Yes, special is used reasonably commonly as a noun, it's certainly quite correct to use it as such, and it means "something which has been designed/made/produced/which is occuring, etc. for a special occasion/on a particular day, etc." In your example, the train was run specially for the football match. This is a special occasion, warranting a special train, i.e. the football special.
     

    audiolaik

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Yes, special is used reasonably commonly as a noun, it's certainly quite correct to use it as such, and it means "something which has been designed/made/produced/which is occuring, etc. for a special occasion/on a particular day, etc." In your example, the train was run specially for the football match. This is a special occasion, warranting a special train, i.e. the football special.
    I get the point, Au101, but, still, I have some doubts as to how to use special as a noun. Is there any significant difference between such sentences...?

    a) The train is a special.
    b) The train is special.
     

    bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    All the uses you cited are common.

    "Special" is the name of the train, as it were, specifying the route. This happens with other words like "Express" or "Non-stop."

    The removal of the article "a" definitely changes the meaning, as one assumes that "special" is an adjective when the article is omitted.
     

    audiolaik

    Senior Member
    Polish
    All the uses you cited are common.

    "Special" is the name of the train, as it were, specifying the route. This happens with other words like "Express" or "Non-stop."

    The removal of the article "a" definitely changes the meaning, as one assumes that "special" is an adjective when the article is omitted.
    But the question is whether or not the meaning of the sentences is the same.
     

    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    The are not the same in regular usage:
    "This train is a special" (noun). This train has been put on for a special purpose (usually meaning not on the regular timetable), e.g. for a big football match. "Train" here really means "service", rather than the engine and carriages themselves, which are usually ordinary (in British railway speak, trains are often referred to as "services" in on-train announcements: "This service calls at Bletchley, Milton Keynes Central, Wolverton and Northampton"). They have been put to a special purpose.

    "This train is special" (adjective). This train is out of the ordinary, referring to its design or construction. Referring to the actual conveyance itself, rather than the service it provides.
     
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    audiolaik

    Senior Member
    Polish
    The are not the same in regular usage:
    "This train is a special" (noun). This train has been put on for a special purpose (usually meaning not on the regular timetable), e.g. for a big football match. "Train" here really means "service", rather than the engine and carriages themselves, which are usually ordinary (in British railway speak, trains are often referred to as "services" in on-train announcements: "This service calls at Bletchley, Milton Keynes Central, Wolverton and Northampton"). They have been put to a special purpose.

    "This train is special" (adjective). This train is out of the ordinary, referring to its design or construction. Referring to the actual conveyance itself, rather than the service it provides.
    Thank you, MM, for your clear explanation!:D
     
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