Thursday, May 29, 2008

I am just too nice of a person

My Wordcraft friends have roundly criticized me for using the phrase, "I am just too nice of a person." Apparently, it should be "too nice a person." Oh, they tried to sugarcoat their criticism by calling it a "midwestern dialect," perhaps "from German." But the tone was clear that it was a mistake. One person said he couldn't use the phrase as he is a perfectionist. Another said she is an editor and is taught to avoid "redundancies." Her reason for it being a mistake was: "If it's incorrect grammatically it might have something to do with the fact that it should be an adverbial phrase instead of a prepositional phrase."

Yet, the same criticizers admit that it would be: "I am just too much of a perfectionist." What is the difference?

Perhaps it is wrong. The more I look at it and say it, the more awkward (another word used by one of my critics) it sounds. Still. Was it necessary to make a big deal about it publically? It is a word board, so I suppose it was appropriate. Yet, it made me feel stupid. I guess that's what I don't like about prescriptivism.


Bob Hale said...

I think you may over reacting slightly. I can't speak for the others but arnie* and I were certainly not questioning your use of the phrase, simply asking whether or not it's common in the US as it's extremely uncommon (virtually unheard of, in fact) in the UK.

(*I can speak for arnie, because he already said the same thing in the thread.)

Cat. said...

This Colorado-bred, midwesterner has ALWAYS said "...too [whatever] of a person/girl/guy." Saying it "too [whatever] a person" sounds wrong, and looks wrong. Wrong is relative, of course. I would never say something was "manky" either, but my British rellies use that word all the time. ;-)

Kalleh said...

I do realize that both you and Arnie were just wondering if they were Americanisms, Bob. I was referring to the comments made by the Americans that clearly questioned the use of the phrase. I thought the discussion was quite prescriptive, and it surprised me, given recent discussions.