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Here's a sentence from this blog.

For such a recluse and an introvert, this passion for closeness seems odd.

The use of 'an' here makes it seem there are two people, but the recluse and the introvert are actually the same person. Is this a bad grammar? Should the 'an' be dropped?

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  • It isn't bad grammar. An expression such as 'an officer and a gentleman' refers to one person. Dec 29, 2022 at 13:33
  • @KateBunting Then how should i rephrase it if I want to refer to two people?
    – Michael
    Jan 10, 2023 at 11:01
  • Well, it would probably be clear from the context that you were talking about two people, and you might say "For a recluse and an introvert like they are...". Jan 10, 2023 at 11:23

1 Answer 1

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If it's 2 people, then...

I think the sentence should say like 'respectively'. If Alice is the recluse and Bob is the introvert then eg

For such a recluse like Alice and an introvert like Bob, this passion for closeness seems odd.

or

Oh it's Alice and Bob again. For such, respectively, a recluse and an introvert, this passion for closeness seems odd.

or if you want to put respectively at the end

Oh it's Alice and Bob again. For such a recluse and an introvert, respectively, this passion for closeness seems odd.

If it's just 1 person, then...

I guess dropping the 'a' or 'an' means using the word as an adjective. Sometimes a noun can also be used as an adjective but

  1. I believe the nouns recluse and introvert can't be used as adjectives.

  2. The point is to use those words as nouns.

But if you want to be absolutely clear then perhaps

For someone who is both such a recluse and such an introvert, this passion for closeness seems odd.

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