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As far as I know, we always use quantifiers before nouns. From this I would like to know if the following constructions, with PROPER NOUNS, sound grammatically correct. If not, an explanation is most welcome.

Eg:

The whole Steve Carell's acting in "The Office" sitcom was great.

Also

The whole acting of Steve Carell's in "The Office" sitcom was great. (Sounds much better to me)

And

All of Rodrigo Santoro's acting in 300 was great!


My intention in these sentences would be to emphasize the actor's set of performances.

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    Your third construction is right, you need the 'of' first. You can say "all of Rodrigo's acting" or "the whole of Rodrigo's performance" Sep 8, 2022 at 2:41
  • Thank you, BCN! Do you think the third sentence is idiomatic?
    – Portugueseporto
    Sep 8, 2022 at 2:47
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    Yep. Note that because you can also say "rodrigo's acting in 300 was great" without specifying "all", it has some connotations that you want to call attention to the fact that all his acting was great across every scene, or that you were surprised at this (or your listener will be surprised) by this fact. So yes it's idiomatic, but it carries faint emphasis on the 'all' Sep 8, 2022 at 3:04
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    From the ELL rules: "Questions asking for someone to find and correct errors or improve the phrasing are considered requests for proofreading and are off-topic. Please edit your question to focus on something in particular that you are unsure about; if that's not possible, see websites for proofreading instead." Please edit your question so it's about a specific aspect of English, rather than three proofreading requests.
    – gotube
    Sep 8, 2022 at 14:24
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    You could also have "Steve Carell's whole acting", although it's not the most idiomatic way of expressing it (something like "Steve Carell's whole expression was hilarious in this scene" sounds better; whole generally means the entirety of a single thing rather than being used with something more vague like "acting").
    – Stuart F
    Sep 8, 2022 at 16:30

1 Answer 1

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To me (native speaker, American) none of these sound idiomatic or natural. Here are some possible ways to rephrase.

I enjoyed all of Steve Carrol's performance in "The Office".

Or

Every part of Steve Carrol's performance in the "The Office" was great.

"The whole Steve Carrols's acting" does not make sense, and neither does "The whole acting of".

"The whole of Steve Carrol's acting" is correct but feels excessively formal and awkward. Most people don't talk that way. "The whole of" is a very formal way to say something. "All of" is more idiomatic. But "All of Rodrigo Santoro's acting" is not idiomatic.

If you didn't add "All of" you could say "His acting was great!" But once you add "All of", it feels unnatural.

I'm not sure I could give you a good reason that adding "All of" conflicts with "acting". Maybe it's because it sounds slightly more formal, because you are taking the time to point out that you mean all of it and not just one part, but it is not as formal as "The whole of".

"His acting was great!" is VERY informal, and means all of it by implication.

"All of his performance was excellent" is a bit more formal and analytic, but not stiffly formal like "The whole of".

The words 'great' and 'acting' are both casual and informal in this context, so if you want something that is formal but not as formal as "The whole of", you could use: "His entire performance was excellent."

If you want something informal that doesn't just imply the entire performance, you could probably do something in two sentences more effectively and idiomatically.

"His acting was great! I loved all of it!"

Informality doesn't like long sentences.

If you want something pompous, you could say something like:

"The whole of his performance was remarkable, adept, and spritely. I was terribly amused."

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  • Great answer, a101010! I have no words to thank you for the time and effort dedicated to writing it! Take care! Sep 19, 2022 at 20:31
  • You are welcome!
    – a101010
    Sep 19, 2022 at 22:05

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