Discussion:
hammer of a fist
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arthurvv vart
2021-04-29 21:58:32 UTC
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1) He hit me with his hammer of a fist.

2) He hit me with his hammers of fists.

Are these sentences grammatical?

The fist is the hammer. We have a metaphor. I think '1' works and '2' doesn't, but I am not sure.

We can say:


3) He had a hammer of a fist.

but I don't think we can say:

4) He had hammers of fists.

Can we?

Gratefully,
Navi
bert
2021-04-30 10:30:51 UTC
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Post by arthurvv vart
1) He hit me with his hammer of a fist.
2) He hit me with his hammers of fists.
Are these sentences grammatical?
The fist is the hammer. We have a metaphor. I think '1' works and '2' doesn't, but I am not sure.
3) He had a hammer of a fist.
4) He had hammers of fists.
Can we?
We could, but we shouldn't. There are hardly any occasions - indeed,
none at all that I can think of right now - when anybody would use
two real hammers at the same time, so the metaphor doesn't work.

Strangely, though, the simile "fists like hammers" is okay - the familiar
twoness of fists swamps the unfamiliar twoness of hammers, but
in "hammers of fists" it doesn't.
arthurvv vart
2021-04-30 11:29:42 UTC
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Post by arthurvv vart
1) He hit me with his hammer of a fist.
2) He hit me with his hammers of fists.
Are these sentences grammatical?
The fist is the hammer. We have a metaphor. I think '1' works and '2' doesn't, but I am not sure.
3) He had a hammer of a fist.
4) He had hammers of fists.
Can we?
We could, but we shouldn't. There are hardly any occasions - indeed,
none at all that I can think of right now - when anybody would use
two real hammers at the same time, so the metaphor doesn't work.
Strangely, though, the simile "fists like hammers" is okay - the familiar
twoness of fists swamps the unfamiliar twoness of hammers, but
in "hammers of fists" it doesn't.
Thank you very much, Bert,

I see your point. How about

3) We saw their palaces of houses.
4) There we saw palaces of houses.

That would make much better sense as a metaphor. But is the grammar fine?

Gratefully,
Navi
spains...@gmail.com
2021-04-30 13:13:53 UTC
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Post by arthurvv vart
Post by arthurvv vart
1) He hit me with his hammer of a fist.
2) He hit me with his hammers of fists.
Are these sentences grammatical?
The fist is the hammer. We have a metaphor. I think '1' works and '2' doesn't, but I am not sure.
3) He had a hammer of a fist.
4) He had hammers of fists.
Can we?
We could, but we shouldn't. There are hardly any occasions - indeed,
none at all that I can think of right now - when anybody would use
two real hammers at the same time, so the metaphor doesn't work.
Strangely, though, the simile "fists like hammers" is okay - the familiar
twoness of fists swamps the unfamiliar twoness of hammers, but
in "hammers of fists" it doesn't.
Thank you very much, Bert,
I see your point. How about
3) We saw their palaces of houses.
4) There we saw palaces of houses.
That would make much better sense as a metaphor. But is the grammar fine?
Every inch as grammatical as:

1-2) He hit me with his palatial fist(s).
bert
2021-04-30 13:59:02 UTC
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Post by arthurvv vart
Post by arthurvv vart
1) He hit me with his hammer of a fist.
2) He hit me with his hammers of fists.
Are these sentences grammatical?
The fist is the hammer. We have a metaphor. I think '1' works and '2' doesn't, but I am not sure.
3) He had a hammer of a fist.
4) He had hammers of fists.
Can we?
We could, but we shouldn't. There are hardly any occasions - indeed,
none at all that I can think of right now - when anybody would use
two real hammers at the same time, so the metaphor doesn't work.
Strangely, though, the simile "fists like hammers" is okay - the familiar
twoness of fists swamps the unfamiliar twoness of hammers, but
in "hammers of fists" it doesn't.
Thank you very much, Bert,
I see your point. How about
3) We saw their palaces of houses.
4) There we saw palaces of houses.
That would make much better sense as a metaphor. But is the grammar fine?
No, it's awkward, because there's a perfectly good
adjective "palatial" for that.
bil...@shaw.ca
2021-04-30 17:56:36 UTC
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Post by arthurvv vart
1) He hit me with his hammer of a fist.
2) He hit me with his hammers of fists.
Are these sentences grammatical?
The fist is the hammer. We have a metaphor. I think '1' works and '2' doesn't, but I am not sure.
3) He had a hammer of a fist.
4) He had hammers of fists.
Can we?
We could, but we shouldn't. There are hardly any occasions - indeed,
none at all that I can think of right now - when anybody would use
two real hammers at the same time, so the metaphor doesn't work.
I have lots of images in my head of old-fashioned blacksmiths pounding
a piece of metal with two hammers, one in each hand. Some are from my
childhood: there was a blacksmith's shop near my house in the 1950s, and
it was one of the pleasures of my life to walk by the open doors and watch
the blacksmith pounding away with two hammers.
Strangely, though, the simile "fists like hammers" is okay - the familiar
twoness of fists swamps the unfamiliar twoness of hammers, but
in "hammers of fists" it doesn't.
It depends on the execution of the metaphor. After my family settled in Canada,
we all took to the late Tennessee Ernie Ford's rendition of the song Sixteen
Tons:

If you see me comin' better step aside
A lotta men didn't, a lotta men died
One first of iron, the other of steel
If the right one don't get you, then the left one will

bill
Ken Blake
2021-04-30 18:26:12 UTC
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Post by ***@shaw.ca
Post by arthurvv vart
1) He hit me with his hammer of a fist.
2) He hit me with his hammers of fists.
Are these sentences grammatical?
The fist is the hammer. We have a metaphor. I think '1' works and '2' doesn't, but I am not sure.
3) He had a hammer of a fist.
4) He had hammers of fists.
Can we?
We could, but we shouldn't. There are hardly any occasions - indeed,
none at all that I can think of right now - when anybody would use
two real hammers at the same time, so the metaphor doesn't work.
I have lots of images in my head of old-fashioned blacksmiths pounding
a piece of metal with two hammers, one in each hand. Some are from my
childhood: there was a blacksmith's shop near my house in the 1950s, and
it was one of the pleasures of my life to walk by the open doors and watch
the blacksmith pounding away with two hammers.
It's perhaps not known by many people here, but I like the song "A Lusty
Young Smith."

https://biostat.wustl.edu/~erich/music/songs/lusty_young_smith.html

I have this recording somewhere, and I still like his performance:

--
Ken
Lewis
2021-05-01 02:28:48 UTC
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Post by ***@shaw.ca
Post by arthurvv vart
1) He hit me with his hammer of a fist.
2) He hit me with his hammers of fists.
Are these sentences grammatical?
The fist is the hammer. We have a metaphor. I think '1' works and '2' doesn't, but I am not sure.
3) He had a hammer of a fist.
4) He had hammers of fists.
Can we?
We could, but we shouldn't. There are hardly any occasions - indeed,
none at all that I can think of right now - when anybody would use
two real hammers at the same time, so the metaphor doesn't work.
I have lots of images in my head of old-fashioned blacksmiths pounding
a piece of metal with two hammers, one in each hand.
Uh... what? A blacksmith doesn't use two hammers at once, that would be
madness. "Hammer and tongs" is an idiom for a reason. The blacksmith uses
the tongs to hold the metal while beating it with a hammer. The tongs
are also used to turn the metal so that the hammer can shape it
properly.
Post by ***@shaw.ca
Some are from my childhood: there was a blacksmith's shop near my
house in the 1950s, and it was one of the pleasures of my life to walk
by the open doors and watch the blacksmith pounding away with two
hammers.
I find that exceedingly unlikely, and I have seen several blacksmiths.
In fact, recently¹ my wife was watching some sort of reality show about
blacksmiths and no dual-hammer wielding in sight.

¹ FSVO "recently" that may be as long as five years ago.
--
"Are you pondering what I'm pondering?"
"Well, I think so, Brain, but do I really need two tongues?"
bil...@shaw.ca
2021-05-01 03:18:26 UTC
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Post by Lewis
Post by ***@shaw.ca
I have lots of images in my head of old-fashioned blacksmiths pounding
a piece of metal with two hammers, one in each hand.
Uh... what? A blacksmith doesn't use two hammers at once, that would be
madness. "Hammer and tongs" is an idiom for a reason. The blacksmith uses
the tongs to hold the metal while beating it with a hammer. The tongs
are also used to turn the metal so that the hammer can shape it
properly.
Okay. I'm relying on memories from more than 60 years ago, and I'm not going to insist that I
couldn't possibly be wrong.

bill
Sam Plusnet
2021-05-01 19:57:02 UTC
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Post by ***@shaw.ca
Post by Lewis
Post by ***@shaw.ca
I have lots of images in my head of old-fashioned blacksmiths pounding
a piece of metal with two hammers, one in each hand.
Uh... what? A blacksmith doesn't use two hammers at once, that would be
madness. "Hammer and tongs" is an idiom for a reason. The blacksmith uses
the tongs to hold the metal while beating it with a hammer. The tongs
are also used to turn the metal so that the hammer can shape it
properly.
Okay. I'm relying on memories from more than 60 years ago, and I'm not going to insist that I
couldn't possibly be wrong.
Using two hammers would cut down the production costs on a performance
like this.


--
Sam Plusnet
Wales, UK
Lewis
2021-05-01 02:19:03 UTC
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Post by bert
Post by arthurvv vart
1) He hit me with his hammer of a fist.
2) He hit me with his hammers of fists.
Are these sentences grammatical?
Are you making up sentences?

Don't do that.
Post by bert
Post by arthurvv vart
The fist is the hammer. We have a metaphor. I think '1' works and '2' doesn't, but I am not sure.
2 is right out. 1 sounds quite awkward and is not how I would write that
sentiment.
Post by bert
Post by arthurvv vart
3) He had a hammer of a fist.
Unlikely, a simile would be far more likely. "His fist were like
hammers."
Post by bert
We could, but we shouldn't. There are hardly any occasions - indeed,
none at all that I can think of right now - when anybody would use
two real hammers at the same time, so the metaphor doesn't work.
i
It doesn't work because it's just not what people say. There is no
underlying logic to many metaphors, they just are.
Post by bert
Strangely, though, the simile "fists like hammers" is okay - the familiar
twoness of fists swamps the unfamiliar twoness of hammers, but
in "hammers of fists" it doesn't.
It's just not a place I would use a metaphor at all, and I find it odd.

1 is bad, 2 is awful.
--
Oh, he's just like any other man, only more so.
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