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A real palace of a house

That idiot of a doctor

Would you show me the phrases above in some other ways that mean the same thing?

Any comment would be appreciated

marked as duplicate by Man_From_India, Chenmunka, CRABOLO, ColleenV, M.A.R. Feb 19 '15 at 13:31

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    I'm not entirely sure whether this type of sentence is an example of inversion or if instead we're choosing examples from a larger category. In each case the meaning is simply that the object is the subject. "The house is a palace." or "The doctor is an idiot." It's a fairly common usage in conversation. – Jason Patterson Feb 18 '15 at 4:17
  • Thanks. But, what about meaning? is there any difference? – nima Feb 18 '15 at 6:58
  • What did you think your examples mean? Was it different than the phrasings Jason Patterson offered? – Brian Hitchcock Feb 18 '15 at 7:15
  • I have no idea as I really have never seen such a constuction – nima Feb 26 '15 at 6:45
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Yes. The phrasing used in your examples might be construed as more emphatic than "That doctor is an idiot." (but not as emphatic as "Tthat doctor is an idiot!") — any of these can be considered hyperbole.

Likewise in the house/palace example, the house is not literally a palace; is is LIKE a palace, so the phrasing is understood as a metaphor (exaggerated) rather than a true equivalence.

Also, the "X of a Y" construction lets you create such sentences as "That idiot of a doctor told me that LDL was "bad cholesterol". Which is shorter than "That doctor is [such] an idiot. He told me that LDL was "bad cholesterol".

  • So, which one would be correct? they are idiot doctors. they are idiotic doctors. – nima Feb 19 '15 at 7:33
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    @nima idiot is a noun, and can't modify a noun as an adjective. so They are idiot doctors is actually not correct. One might use it like this They are idiot-doctors, but that is not common. On the other hand idiotic doctor is okay. – Man_From_India Feb 19 '15 at 8:25

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