1. Fife
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    Fife Senior Member

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    "A better vocabulary"?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Fife, Nov 23, 2012.

    I was typing and typing and typing... and then I got to a clause that resembled this (example): "Bob has better vocabulary than me." Should it be "Bob has a better vocabulary than me."?

    I mean, vocabulary consists of all the words that you use, right? So I tried to replace it hypothetically with the word "language". "Bob has better language than me." vs. "Bob has a better language than me." After a while, my head start to hurt. Sort of like when you look at a word for too long, it starts to look more and more ambiguous.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. cazann34
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    cazann34 Active Member

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    I would say the first example: Bob has better vocabulary than me. Since the word vocabulary means a collection of words and not just one, so no need for the word 'a'. This is my humble opinion.
     
  3. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would say "a better vocabulary" because vocabulary is singular - a list of known words. One wouldn't say "Bob has better list of known words than I." (btw, language isn't suitable since it's not a simile, and isn't used in the same manner)
     
  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    "A better vocabulary" is the one that sounds most natural and the one I would choose.
     
  5. Timewalker
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    Timewalker Member

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    A better vocabulary.

    Would anyone one say 'He has better collection than me'?
    But still, ther is something uncomfortable with 'a better vocabulary'.
    Maybe someone like Cogito can help.
     
  6. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    Maybe - Bob's vocabulary is better than mine.
     
  7. cmshepard
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    cmshepard Member

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    x2.

    I won't even try. I'd turn it into a paragraph. Sorry I can't be of more help - lol!
     
  8. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    "A better vocabulary." Shadowwalker's reasoning is correct.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes, 'a' is the grammatically correct way to do it...
     

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