Are sentences below correct ? I just want to learn if use of ''in a state '' is correct or not . I know I can make this sentence without “ in a state “ but as told I just try to understand “ in a state . I mean if I use “in a state “ in this way , would it be grammatically correct?

1)I don't want him to see me in a state without makeup .

2)I don't want my photo to be taken in a state wihout makeup

3) My photo was taken in a state in black suit.( or should I delete '' in a state'' in this sentence)

Are all three correct ?


A "state" means the particular condition that someone or something is in at a specific time.

In your first two examples, the "state" of the person is specified - they are "without makeup". The person does not want anyone to see/photograph them in that particular condition, at that time.

Your third example is not correct, for a few reasons. Firstly, although we can say someone is "in makeup" we do not say "in suit" - it would be "in a suit", and that isn't really a condition. There is a common expression "in a state of undress" which means either completely naked or partially dressed; however, we would not normally say "in a state in a suit".

Lastly, this may be a particularly British English idiom, but "in a state" can be used in isolation to mean "in a bad state", and is used in various ways. Someone might say "I'm in a state" to mean that their appearance or their home is untidy, or not as presentable as they would like. It can also mean that someone is a poor emotional state, or that someone is in poor physical health.

  • I know those sound weird. But as far as I understood from what you said , If say such a sentence It wouldn’t be wrong but wouldn’t be understood eaisly.
    – user90151
    Dec 11 '19 at 10:06
  • @languagelearner Like all languages, we have idioms - sometimes a phrase is acceptable in one context but not another. Your third example could be structually and grammatically correct if you add in the article "a" but it would not be idiomatic. The first two are fine, though.
    – Astralbee
    Dec 11 '19 at 10:19
  • Thanks a lot for your help.
    – user90151
    Dec 11 '19 at 10:25

In all three of your examples, "in a state" is not needed but in the first sentence its usage is not wrong. You'd generally use "in a state" when you have to specify that state in detail. For example 'He drove that car in a state where he could not control any aspect of his motor controls'. In your case, you could change the first sentence to "I don't want him to see me without makeup", which gives the same meaning. For the second sentence you could say "I don't want my photo to be taken in a state when I'm without makeup". For the third according to my understanding of your sentence, you'd have to change it to 'I wore a black suit when my photo was taken'.

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