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Many / much issues

 

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  #1  
Old June 21, 2011, 03:09 PM
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Many / much issues

Lately I'm coming across a lot of expressions involving many and much that are completely new to me; most of them completely understandable but a few not so.

Yesterday I hear in an episode of Escape to the Country (BrE) "That wouldn't be that much an issue" which I immediately rendered as "Eso no sería tanto problema", what let me thinking how may we exactly translate "Eso no sería mucho problema" and if the difference between "tanto" and "mucho" in those sentences is kept in English. Any insight on this is welcome.

The day before I had heard this from an expert in Antiques Roadshow UK: "yada yada yada ... for many a long year". I know "for many a year" instead of "many years" and "for long years". Is that expression a valid one? a current one?

Regarding "many" I discovered last year it is used as "de más":

- What's the name of the story?
- It's called "Goldy Locks and the Four Bears"
- Four? No, no, no! Is one bear too many
[Hay un oso de más]

"... had a few too many" [tomó (unas copas) de más] Perry Mason s01e28 (1957) (AmE)

Charlie Rose Interviews Raymond Burr (1985):
RB - It was a great success the show [Perry Mason], we went on for nine years; I thought it was two years too many
CR - You really want to quit it earlier..
RB - I wanted to quit at the end of five years.

Are there other uses of "too many" that we should be aware of? May you provide more examples that can be tricky to students?

My last question is about word order. I heard this also in Perry Mason:
"the duties of an attorney are varied and many"

It sounded a bit literary to me, as in Spanish adjectives related to quantities go first, I don't know if it is owing to them being also adverbs and pronouns. Is that a normal order in English?
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  #2  
Old June 21, 2011, 03:37 PM
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That wouldn't be that much an issue
In AmE we would say "That wouldn't be (that) much of an issue".

Quote:
for many a long year
This is a valid expression, although in my opinion sounds somewhat antiquated and would normally be employed as a stylistic device in creative writing.

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May you provide more examples
Could you provide more examples...

Quote:
the duties of an attorney are varied and many
This sounds perfectly normal to me.
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Old June 24, 2011, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by aleCcowaN View Post
My last question is about word order. I heard this also in Perry Mason:
"the duties of an attorney are varied and many"

It sounded a bit literary to me, as in Spanish adjectives related to quantities go first, I don't know if it is owing to them being also adverbs and pronouns. Is that a normal order in English?
Well, we are talking about attorneys here, so it may be a little literary. If it were everyday, we might say "A farmer does a lot [many] of different [varied] things".
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Old June 27, 2011, 09:39 AM
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"for many a ..." is a older style of saying things. It isn't used much in normal conversation. You would just say "for many years"

"the duties of an attorney are varied and many" - The normal way would be "an attorney has many various duties". Sometimes for style, we don't like to stack adjectives, so you can change the sentence order to achieve a different style. I think this is just a style choice.
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Old June 27, 2011, 11:32 AM
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"for many a ..." is a older style of saying things. It isn't used much in normal conversation. .
I've used the expression many a time.
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Old June 27, 2011, 11:56 AM
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Thanks everybody for your comments.

I still don't understand if that "(that) much of an issue" is absolute (mucho problema), relative (tanto problema) or either.

I suppose that "many a year" and the like are current in BrE, but I'd like a confirmation about the use of that "many a long year"
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Old June 27, 2011, 01:26 PM
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I suppose that "many a year" and the like are current in BrE, but I'd like a confirmation about the use of that "many a long year"
I don't find either expression unusual for BrE, in fact quite natural. Let's say I spent an unhappy time in a country somewhere, and a friend announces he is moving there. I might then express concern that he will regret it, and when asked why, I might say something like "well, I spent many a long year there, and they are just a bunch of idiots who will make you miserable".
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Old June 27, 2011, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Perikles View Post
I don't find either expression unusual for BrE, in fact quite natural. Let's say I spent an unhappy time in a country somewhere, and a friend announces he is moving there. I might then express concern that he will regret it, and when asked why, I might say something like "well, I spent many a long year there, and they are just a bunch of idiots who will make you miserable".
Thank you!

But still "many a long year" means "many, many years" and not "many endless years", doesn't it? In Spanish "largos años" equals "muchos años" but the first one includes a psychological nuance of "más años (de los que hubiera querido/que los necesarios/de los que quiero recordar)"
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Old June 27, 2011, 01:45 PM
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Thank you!

But still "many a long year" means "many, many years" and not "many endless years", doesn't it?
Not it doesn't, at least not to me. It suggests the years were painfully slow, not that there were necessarily very many of them. But perhaps others may disagree.
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Old June 27, 2011, 04:41 PM
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Not it doesn't, at least not to me. It suggests the years were painfully slow, not that there were necessarily very many of them. But perhaps others may disagree.
OK, so I suppose the subjective nuance is present in English too. I heard the phrase from Antiques Roadshow's expert Eric Knowles speaking of something not recent nor painfully slow. I don't remember exactly but it was something like the kind of piece that had not been seen or the kind of craft that had not been done 'in many a long year' what reinforced the sense of rarity, out of fashion or whatever attributed to the item.
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