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"You didn't have this big of a belly before" W : What's under your shirt? M : There's nothing under it. It's just my belly. W : Oh, I thought there was something under it. You didn't have this big of a belly before. What happened? "You didn't have this big of a belly before" I think the usage of the word "big" is adjective. So in this context, I wonder what usage of "big" that is and whether it is easily used in this way. Please help me! Thanks!^ ^
Mar 2, 2014 10:25 PM
Answers · 9
Yes, I was having another think... and I thought "Hmmm, I think we use adjectives in this way because we get so used to the sound of the expressions (like whale of a time/etc.) that we start slipping adjectives into this structure. Very informally "I didn't realize he was a man who was that tall!" becomes "that tall of a man" or "that tall a man". I agree with Bruce from the USA- fine to read in a novel or hear in a pub but avoid it yourself... it would be too easy to get it wrong.
March 3, 2014
As Moira Wendy Miller indicates it is the introduction of the phrase "this big of a" which makes understanding difficult. What is needed is a straightforward expression instead of; "You didn't have this big of a belly before" For example: You did not have a big belly before. You would benefit greatly by abandoning the use of the phrase, "this big of a". .
March 3, 2014
"...this big of a belly" is the same as saying "a belly this big". You could substitute any other adjective or noun for 'big' and 'belly' respectively, although it can sometimes sound unnatural or overly poetic.
March 3, 2014
Hi! It's a rather idiomatic way of saying the man has a big fat belly. I suspect it is the use of "big OF A belly" that seems strange. We have similar expressions: "We had a whale of a time!"(we had a really good time); "I didn't realize you had such a pain of a husband"(the husband is really annoying); "I hate my lump of a nose" (my nose is lumpy or big); and "Fred! You're fat! To have that big of a belly can't be healthy!"(to have a belly that big must be bad for you). I hope this is sort OF A help.... and that it doesn't give you a bit OF A headache. Other people will explain it better.. with more OF A grammatical viewpoint. I just wanted to say how often we use this construction.
March 2, 2014
Language Skills
English, Korean
Learning Language