to be specific

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by mathman, Sep 24, 2022.

  1. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    It seems there are subtle differences in this phrase depending on spacing.
    to....be specific asks that a general statement be clarified.
    to be ...... specific asks that details should be supplied.
    Am I making too much?
     
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  3. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    It's not a matter of "spacing" it's a matter of whether it's being used as an adjective or as a noun.
     
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  5. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Either way, there’s no room for ambiguity. That’s how I interpret it.
     
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  7. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    I don't understand your examples. Can you use them in a sentence?
     
  8. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Yes.
    "Specific" can either be an adjective: "this is a specific example of the word being used as an adjective"; or it can be used as a noun, as in: "the specifics of the case eluded him".

    But if you ask someone "to be specific" then you are asking them for some clearly defined details. The spacing in how you ask has nothing to do with it. Context should inform what exactly those details might be, and what might suffice in terms of how detailed.
     
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