worth + a/the + noun

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loviii

Senior Member
Russian
Greetings!

thefreedictionary.com:
The cathedral is worth a look. - The phrase "worth a look" has a strange order to me, because "a" is between the adjective "worth" and the noun "look".

To deal with it, I want to consider the next examples I thought up myself:
(1a) They call him daddy. - the noun "daddy" is an object complement
(1b) He's called daddy. - the participial phrase "called daddy" is a subject complement

(2b) The cathedral is worth a look. - the adjectival phrase "worth a look" is a subject complement

(1b) & (2b) are analogous grammar constructions.
There is no (2a) that would be analogous to (1a).

Am I right?
What would you add to explain such an odd word order as in "worth a look"?


Thanks!
 
  • arundhati

    Senior Member
    French - France
    Hello,
    I can't really follow any of your grammatical explanation
    1a : "him" is the object
    1b : what does "'s" stand for, "is" or "has"?
    2b : "the cathedral" is the subject
    You have to take "is worth" as a whole thing (a phrasal verb), you could replace it with "deserves".
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    A look means the same thing as a glance, lovii. X is worth a look means roughly the same thing that X is worth looking at does.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    The cathedral is worth a look.
    The cathedral is worth taking a look at.

    In English "look at" = "take a look at".

    The speaker is not comparing the value of the cathedral (500 million dollars) and the value of "a look" (5 cents). In this sentence "is worth" is not a comparison.

    The speaker is saying that the action of "taking a look at the cathedral" is worthwhile.


     

    loviii

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I mean:

    We can't say: "He is good a boy".
    We can only say: "He is a good boy".

    But, then, how is it possible we can say: "The cathedral is worth a look"?

    Thanks!
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Because "The cathedral is worth a look"

    means "It is worth it to us to take a look at the cathedral."

    If you ignore this meaning, good luck figuring out the grammar!
     

    The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    It may be easier to understand if you think of "to be worth" as the verb, synonymous with "to merit" or "to deserve" as suggested above.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    We can't say: "He is good a boy".
    We can only say: "He is a good boy".

    But, then, how is it possible we can say: "The cathedral is worth a look"?
    Because "good" and "worth" are not similar. We can't, for example, say: "The cathedral is a worth look".
    Newt's suggestion in #10 is good. Think of "to be worth (something)" as a kind of phrasal verb.
     
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