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  1. #1
    A Writer
    Guest

    Turn of phrase -- input, please

    Two examples:

    She was rather gifted a pianist, having studied for years with the finest teacher available.

    She was a rather gifted pianist, having studied for years with the finest teacher available.

    There is a subtle difference in the phrasing of

    "was rather gifted a pianist" and

    "was a rather gifted pianist,"

    the first being perhaps more poetic.

    Which do you prefer? Is one "better" than the other? Why?



  2. #2
    Ellen Brock
    Guest

    Re: Turn of phrase -- input, please

    I think the second one is much better, the first one made me stumble and was hard to comprehend.

  3. #3
    leslee
    Guest

    Re: Turn of phrase -- input, please

    You've got it right the second time.

  4. #4
    Pete Peterson
    Guest

    Re: Turn of phrase -- input, please

    The first sentence means that someone gave her a pianist as a gift instead of something else. That's not poetic, that's just bad grammar. I think I actually heard Strunk and White groan when I read it.

  5. #5
    Debbi Voisey
    Guest

    Re: Turn of phrase -- input, please

    First one is too clunky. Unless you say "gifted as a pianist".

    I prefer the second.

    Debbi

  6. #6
    Eric George
    Guest

    Re: Turn of phrase -- input, please

    "She was not a mere technician, she was rather a gifted pianist". A different, compare-and-contrast meaning.

    Your second version is an example of British understatement. Instead of saying " she was a gifted pianist", they would say "rather gifted". Why? To avoid giving a definite opinion? To be polite and understated? I wouldn't use it (except in appropriate dialogue). If she is gifted, say so straight out.

    Pete is right - 'gifted a pianist' can mean she was given one, but 'to gift' is an archaic usage. You can use this construction to qualify the degree of an adjective - 'he was too sly a fox to get caught by that trick'; 'she was too poor a pianist to tackle Liszt in public'.

    For me, I would stop worrying about poetry and decoration and just say what you've got to say.

  7. #7
    Danny Volt
    Guest

    Re: Turn of phrase -- input, please

    (1) the second one is definitely better and
    (2) using "rather" may not be necessary, although out of context, I can't say for sure. If it's meant as understatement, it works. But if the point is "she is certainly a gifted pianist – for gosh sakes, she studied for years under …" you could probably eliminate the "rather."

  8. #8
    Nick Dobbie
    Guest

    Re: Turn of phrase -- input, please

    Heh heh heh. You said Pianist.

  9. #9
    i harris
    Guest

    Re: Turn of phrase -- input, please

    #2

  10. #10
    A Writer
    Guest

    Re: Turn of phrase -- input, please

    Thank you all -- your advice has been most helpful. )

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