...with a refinement and precision that's born of...

JungKim

Senior Member
Korean
This is a description of the Apple Watch as narrated in an Apple's own commercial:
We have designed six different straps and a mechanism that makes the straps easily interchangeable with a refinement and precision that's born of functionality.
Here are my questions:

(1) According to dictionaries, "refinement" can be either a countable or an uncountable noun, whereas "precision" is always uncountable. So, does the "a" belong to "refinement"?

(2) Is it also possible to use "refinement" as an uncountable noun in the same context, as in "with refinement and precision that's..."?

(3) What's born of functionality--"refinement", "precision", or both?
 
  • panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Keep in mind that this is promotional material and in that context the English may be imprecise.

    I have no problem with considering refinement and precision as terms that may be used as if countable. So "a precision" doesn't strike me as strange.

    As I understand it, the combination of refinement and precision is born of functionality ... ... whatever that means :)
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Thanks, panjandrum.
    What if the last that-clause is removed?
    We have designed six different straps and a mechanism that makes the straps easily interchangeable with a refinement and precision.
    We have designed six different straps and a mechanism that makes the straps easily interchangeable with refinement and precision.

    Now, with the that-clause gone, do you still find the version with the "a" acceptable?

    How about the version without the "a"? Is it natural?

    Which would you prefer if you'd write it (without the that-clause)?
     

    Hildy1

    Senior Member
    English - US and Canada
    I agree with panjandrum that "precision" can sometimes be used as a countable noun. For example, you can use "a precision" when you mean "a kind / degree of precision".
    - They work with a precision that impresses everyone.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Isn't the "a" allowed here, because of the presence of "that impresses everyone"?
    I would say yes.
    Also, would "the precision" be incorrect in your example?
    Yes, for me. It sounds very odd ... as though this is a particular type of "precision that impresses everyone" that others might also employ. We don't have such a standard term: "precision that impresses everyone," "precision that impresses no one," "precision that isn't very precise at all," etc.
     
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