Is there any difference between the following sentences?

  • The ladder is metal.
  • The ladder is metallic.
  • The ladder is made of metal.

I have read the construction "to be [material]" for the first time today and it sounded odd to me. It does not make sense literally, but I assume that it must be idiomatic.


Lets dispose of "Metallic" first. "Metallic" is an adjective meaning something is 'like metal' without requiring it actually be metal. (It is most commmonly used about a surface finish - such as chrome-coloured plastic or car paint colours - or noises or smells).

"made of metal" - metal is a mass noun

"a metal ladder" is using metal as an adjective -

Forms such as "the ladder is metal" is really just a contraction where "made of" is just implied.

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