Discussion:
It wasn't that big of a secret
(too old to reply)
tonbei
2020-01-08 02:28:00 UTC
Permalink
I have a question about the following sentence from a novel.

"A big dirty secret what our government was doing to support the atrocities over there."
"It wasn't that big of a secret, Eddie."
(Port Mortuary by P. Cornwell)

My question is about "It wasn't that big of a secret", especially on an usage of "of" here.
I think it means the same as "It was not so big a secret.", or "not that big a secret".

Is this usage of "of" the same as in "much of a burden"?
s***@gmail.com
2020-01-08 03:09:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by tonbei
I have a question about the following sentence from a novel.
"A big dirty secret what our government was doing to support the atrocities over there."
"It wasn't that big of a secret, Eddie."
(Port Mortuary by P. Cornwell)
My question is about "It wasn't that big of a secret", especially on an usage of "of" here.
I think it means the same as "It was not so big a secret.", or "not that big a secret".
Is this usage of "of" the same as in "much of a burden"?
It's casual speech. The sentence has the same meaning as
"It wasn't that big a secret, Eddie."

You're pretty close with your re-writes,
but the /THAT <x> A <y>/ construction often comes out as
/THAT <x> OF A <y>/.
I suspect Americans are more guilty than others,
and this is an American novel,
but I haven't done any population studies of the issue.

It's not a big deal.

/dps "Nor is that big of a deal"
tonbei
2020-01-08 09:36:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by tonbei
I have a question about the following sentence from a novel.
"A big dirty secret what our government was doing to support the atrocities over there."
"It wasn't that big of a secret, Eddie."
(Port Mortuary by P. Cornwell)
I've come to an idea that "of" in the sentence I questioned about may be
close to the usage of that in "It's kind of him."

1) It wasn't that big of a secret.
2) It's kind of him.

Those sentence patterns are similar.
CDB
2020-01-08 13:42:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by tonbei
Post by tonbei
I have a question about the following sentence from a novel.
"A big dirty secret what our government was doing to support the
atrocities over there." "It wasn't that big of a secret, Eddie."
(Port Mortuary by P. Cornwell)
I've come to an idea that "of" in the sentence I questioned about may
be close to the usage of that in "It's kind of him."
I think your other post had it right. The statement "it wasn't that big
a secret" is influenced by the pattern of "it wasn't that much of a secret".
Post by tonbei
1) It wasn't that big of a secret. 2) It's kind of him.
Those sentence patterns are similar.
They seem different to me. "Kind of" (or "kinda") is used adverbially
in modern casual speech ("it's kind of/kinda big"), but it is a
shortening of "a kind of", usually followed by a noun ("it's a kind of
secret").

The pronoun "him" in your example is being used as an adjective, meaning
something like "typical of him", and so that "kind of" can be considered
adverbial.

Thank you for these questions. I am fond of my language and wouldn't
change much of it, but they help me to see its ragged edges.
J. J. Lodder
2020-01-08 11:51:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by tonbei
I have a question about the following sentence from a novel.
"A big dirty secret what our government was doing to support the atrocities over there."
"It wasn't that big of a secret, Eddie."
(Port Mortuary by P. Cornwell)
My question is about "It wasn't that big of a secret", especially on an
usage of "of" here. I think it means the same as "It was not so big a
secret.", or "not that big a secret".
Is this usage of "of" the same as in "much of a burden"?
Just curious: are you reading Port Mortuary
at a rate of one page per day?

Jan
tonbei
2020-01-08 13:49:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by J. J. Lodder
Just curious: are you reading Port Mortuary
at a rate of one page per day?
Jan
Several pages per day, because of checking by dictionaries, map, or google search to get pictures of things when their description is unclear to me just in writing.
I'm making notes based on what I've learned from doing so, and composing my own
dictionary, which slow down my reading pace considerably , but I have a dream of reading more
easily and enjoyably someday for real entertainment.
Spains Harden
2020-01-08 16:00:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by tonbei
Post by J. J. Lodder
Just curious: are you reading Port Mortuary
at a rate of one page per day?
Jan
Several pages per day, because of checking by dictionaries, map, or google search to get pictures of things when their description is unclear to me just in writing.
I'm making notes based on what I've learned from doing so, and composing my own
dictionary, which slow down my reading pace considerably , but I have a dream of reading more
easily and enjoyably someday for real entertainment.
You write better English than P. Cornwell does, so it might be better
to switch to another writer. However:

"Several pages per day, because of checking by dictionaries, map, or
google search..."

You are not checking "by", you are checking "with" or "using".

"I'm making notes based on what I've learned from doing so, and
composing my own dictionary, which slow down...

Should be "slows down..." for reasons I can't explain.

I echo CDB's "ragged edges" comment and enjoy your questions too.
Tony Cooper
2020-01-08 16:39:36 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 8 Jan 2020 08:00:24 -0800 (PST), Spains Harden
Post by Spains Harden
Post by tonbei
Post by J. J. Lodder
Just curious: are you reading Port Mortuary
at a rate of one page per day?
Jan
Several pages per day, because of checking by dictionaries, map, or google search to get pictures of things when their description is unclear to me just in writing.
I'm making notes based on what I've learned from doing so, and composing my own
dictionary, which slow down my reading pace considerably , but I have a dream of reading more
easily and enjoyably someday for real entertainment.
You write better English than P. Cornwell does, so it might be better
It seems to me that reading Cornwell, or a similar author, is exactly
what tonbei should be doing. He* has a good grasp of "good" English,
but what he seems to want is to get a good grasp of English as it is
actually spoken by many people.

Most of his questions are about the wording of dialog, and Cornwell's
dialog is representative of how some people use the language. To be
proficient in a language, you must know how it should be written but
also be able to understand everyday conversation. Everyday
conversation is not always - or even frequently - couched in the same
way that a person who uses correct English would write.
Post by Spains Harden
"Several pages per day, because of checking by dictionaries, map, or
google search..."
You are not checking "by", you are checking "with" or "using".
"I'm making notes based on what I've learned from doing so, and
composing my own dictionary, which slow down...
Should be "slows down..." for reasons I can't explain.
I echo CDB's "ragged edges" comment and enjoy your questions too.
If he was reading something written by, say, Eric Walker he would not
have examples of unclear (to him) phrasing to present here. He
wouldn't be getting input like "checking with" instead of "checking
by".

*A name like "tonbei" does not suggest to me that the poster is either
male or female. The assumption of "he" is probably sexist on my part.
--
Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
Loading...