to be (the) abyss deep

siares

Senior Member
Slovak
Hello all,
in Vampire diaries there is a dialogue, a highschool girl is told she's shallow, she says:
I don't mean to be. I wanna be deep. I wanna be, like...the abyss deep.

Could you confirm whether, as I think, any article or none could be used?
- the abyss deep = that specific depth associated with abysses
- an abyss deep = deep like a / any abyss
- 0article abyss deep = here abyss-deep = adjective so there's no need for article

Thank you
 
  • siares

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    Aah yes, not a noun, you're right.
    Would you use a zero article or an 'an'?
    I know the 'the tiger' usage but there's also: He's strong as a bull. (I haven't head it with strong as the bull, have you?)
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    I would use zero article too, but not an indefinite one.

    I wanna be deep like an abyss. -- sounds fine to me.
    but
    I wanna be an abyss deep. -- sounds not fine to me.

    Let's see what others say.
     

    siares

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    I wanna be an abyss deep. -- sounds not fine to me.
    Thanks, Vic, it looks like nobody else will come so I might post another example in another thread.
    In the meantime,
    I reviewed some threads on a/the + animal and felt cosmic despair. Can you remember whether there are any threads on articles + semantic differences between nouns?
    For example, once I got this example:
    A cheetah can run 110 kmph.:tick:
    Any cheetah can run 110 kmph.:cross:
    The crosses are not about grammar, but the truth value; any cheetah includes cheetahs with broken legs who cannot run 110 kmph.
    In this respect cheetahs + speed differ from abysses + depth; any abyss is very deep.

    So maybe 'an abyss deep' could be justified this way.
     

    Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    I would take "I want to be, like, abyss deep" to refer to any abyss, and "I want to be like, the abyss deep" to refer to a particular abyss, or the one abyss. She's saying "I want to be as deep as the abyss."
     

    siares

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    Thanks Florentia.
    There is no other abyss mentioned or featuring in the series. She must be talking generally even using the 'the abyss'. Is this something where you would ask your comanion: which abyss?

    Are you ruling out 'an abyss deep' completely?
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    Might I venture to suggest that I wanna be, like...the abyss deep. is mis-spelt and that "The Abyss" should have been capitalized and enclosed in quotes.
    It seems likely that it is a reference to the abyss in the thriller The Abyss - Wikipedia
     

    siares

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    Thank you, Edinburgher. That sounds plausible.

    How about if we compare the person to an animal?
    'The bull' can work as a representative of class of bulls. So in the following, could it be read like that, rather than as 'specific bull'?

    I wanna be, like, the bull strong.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    I wanna be, like...the abyss deep. = I wanna be, like..."the abyss" deep. - ["the abyss"] is a adjectival phrase -
    I wanna be, like...as deep as the abyss is deep.

    The abyss/Abyss - OED: 1. c The great deep or bottomless gulf believed in old cosmogonies to lie beneath the earth; the infernal pit, the abode of the dead, hell.
     

    siares

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    ["the abyss"] is a adjectival phrase
    Hm, so, not an ordinary everyday abyss then?
    Is this something like: she's hot, like The Sun hot?

    And what is an adjectival phrase?
    Are normal nouns unusable like that? Such as: I want to be an/the bull strong?
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Hm, so, not an ordinary everyday abyss then?
    The abyss/Abyss - OED: 1. c The great deep or bottomless gulf believed in old cosmogonies to lie beneath the earth; the infernal pit, the abode of the dead, hell.
    It depends on whether you think the eternal pits of boiling sulfur and damnation are "everyday" or not. :D
    And what is an adjectival phrase?
    A phrase (usually considered as two or more words lacking a finite verb) that modifies or qualifies a noun, noun phrase, gerund, or pronoun.

    "The Abyss" is a term for what is known as "Hell". It seems, strangely, that the capital is optional - perhaps because the captial "h" in Hell" is also optional.

    Are normal nouns unusable like that? Such as: I want to be an/the bull strong?
    No. It seems to be reserved for proper nouns/names - "I want to be tall! The Eiffel Tower tall! The Empire State Building tall!"
     

    Trochfa

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    "The Abyss" is a term for what is known as "Hell". It seems, strangely, that the capital is optional - perhaps because the captial "h" in Hell" is also optional.
    :thumbsup:

    I definitely agree with Paul and think "the abyss" here means "hell". This is about vampires, and they are often associated with hell. She wants to be as deep as hell.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    So it is either "river deep, mountain high" or "the Mississippi deep, the Everest high", isn't it? :)
    Ah! Good point!

    "The Mississippi deep" works because the river is commonly referred to as "the Mississippi", but it would be "Everest high" as Everest is never expressed as "the Everest."
     
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