1. darkfabric
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    darkfabric New Member

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    Dimension or Dimensions?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by darkfabric, Jan 6, 2011.

    Hi. New to this forum so hello everyone and thank you in advance for any help you might provide.

    My question is this: Can 'dimension' be an uncountable noun? We all have heard that there may indeed be 11 dimensions. But we've also heard that this painting adds dimension to the living room. Is the latter actually incorrect? It certainly sounds strange to say that this painting adds dimensions to the living room. But that doesn't necessarily mean it isn't improper usage. Any opinions or evidence for that matter?

    Cheers
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    There are multiple definitions of "dimension." You should do a quick search on google. That will give you the answers you're looking for.
     
  3. darkfabric
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    darkfabric New Member

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    Thanks for your response. I always try to do the research myself before consulting a forum. But as you know, sometimes search results for very general words get eclipsed by more hit-upon queries. Such is the case here. Also, I haven't found an online dictionary to be particularly helpful yet. Hence my appeal to this forum. In fact, I would rate my purpose for consulting this forum among the top reasons forums exist.
     
  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I searched for "definition of dimension" and got several good results on the first page. One of the definitions, and the one I think you're looking for, is "aspect; element" (courtesy of thefreedictionary.com).
     
  5. darkfabric
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    darkfabric New Member

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    I wonder if the uncountable form of "dimension" I'm referring to means this: a lifelike or realistic quality. (i.e. that painting adds a lifelike or realistic quality to the room). If so, it hasn't been the meaning I've intended all these years.
     
  6. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Dimension isn't the right word then. Whenever I hear something like that, I assume that people are using dimension to mean "element" or something similar.
     
  7. darkfabric
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    darkfabric New Member

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    Aspect: A particular look or facial expression. I do believe you're right, thirdwind. Saw that but didn't get it the first time. Thanks for your help. Hope it didn't wreck your day.
     
  8. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    No problem, though I think I kind of misunderstood you and that you figured it out by yourself. ;)
     
  9. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    The trouble with that is that "aspect" and "element" are both countable too. As far as I can tell, "The painting adds dimension to the room" is meaningless. The speaker was searching for a word and decided that "dimension" sounded impressive without worrying what it meant.
     
  10. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Yeah, that sentence sounded sort of meaningless to me as well, which is partly why I initially misunderstood the question.
     
  11. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    If something adds dimension I read it as it's adding depth. In the case of a painting, the depth is a form of enrichment of the room.

    Depth can too be plural or uncountable.

    His character has a lot of depth.

    I gazed into the depths of Hell.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ...according to whom?... actually, some of us have not!... me, for example... ;-)
     
  13. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    It's a physics theory. More specifically, I think it's string theory, though I may be wrong.
     
  14. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, it's string theory -- specifically M-theory (Bosonic string theory puts us in 26 dimensions, not 11). As far as I am aware, no version of string theory has yet produced any falsifiable predictions, so many scientists are reserving judgement.
     
  15. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    A theory in the weakest sense of the word, never the less interesting. Makes for good speculation on a dull, rainy day.

    "If there are infinite universes of infinite variation, there must be a universe somewhere that's exactly like ours, except everything and everyone in it are made from banana-peel material."
     

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