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What's the difference -- if there's any -- between using 'of a/an' and 'a/an' (examples given below)? Are the following passages grammatically correct, and if so, is it merely a matter of taste which one to use when writing?

1) This is too difficult of a task.
2) This is too difficult a task.

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The sentence:

This is too difficult of a task.

is a non-standard but not uncommon usage. In Standard English (at least in the US and UK versions) it is at least technically ungrammatical, but it occurs in informal speech, nd may be more common in particular dialects.

This is too difficult a task.

is a very common and natural way to express this meaning.

This task is too difficult.

is also common. That form emphasizes the task rather than the difficulty.

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