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“The U.S. is too immature a society to be allowed to play with guns. It has never shed its Wild West mythology.”

Why is not "a" put in front of "too immature"?What is the explanation for this?

I would write this sentence as "The U.S. is a too immature society ...."

marked as duplicate by Damkerng T., Nathan Tuggy, Adam, user6200, curiousdannii Oct 3 '15 at 0:32

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  • It's an idiom, there is an omitted (and assumed) "of": "too immature of a society". – Victor Bazarov Oct 2 '15 at 19:19
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    @VictorBazarov too ADJ of a has never been "standard", and even colloquially it is a fairly recent innovation. – StoneyB Oct 2 '15 at 19:37
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Compare the following:

  • The U.S. is too immature to be allowed to play with guns.
  • The U.S. is a society to be allowed to play with guns.

The first of these is perfectly grammatical, although we might think "immature in what sense?" The original sentence answers this: immature as a society.

The second example above doesn't make much sense.

So, you could read your sentence as follows:

The U.S. is too immature [a society] to be allowed to play with guns.

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