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A couple of questions

hirashin

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Hello, native English speakers,
I have a couple of questions.
1) When do you use 'powers', the plural of 'power'?
Is the sentence "Music has strange powers" correct?

2) Which would be suitable for the blank?
The star is so bright as to be seen with _______.
(a) a naked eye (b) the naked eye (c) naked eyes (d) the naked eyes (e) your naked eye (f) your naked eyes

3) Which would be suitable for the blank?
These days, our schedules are so ______ that we can't spend much time together.
(a) much (b) many (c) heavy (d) busy (e) tight (f) crowded (g) full (h) hard

Hirashin
 
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1. That's a fine example.

2. B, however the original sentence is unnatural to my ear because "as to be seen" makes more sense usually when referring to an adjective as opposed to the object itself in my mind: The stars in the night sky have such luminosity as to be seen with the naked eye.

3. Any but a or b sound reasonable to me, though c, d, and e are probably most commonly used where I come from.
 
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For (2), I suggest "The star is bright enough to be seen with the naked eye". As well as the awkwardness mentioned above, "so bright" suggests an unusual or surprising degree of brightness (e.g. "the light was so bright I was temporarily dazzled"), which doesn't seem to fit this context.
 

hirashin

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Thanks for the help, Wonko the Sane and eeky. I really appreciate it. I have some further questions.

For (1), would "Music has strange power" also be used?

For (2),
Wonko, you used the phrase "have such luminosity" instead of
"is so bright". Is that because you agree with eeky's opinion below?
As well as the awkwardness mentioned above, "so bright" suggests an unusual or surprising degree of brightness
Hirashin
 
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Thanks for the help, Wonko the Sane and eeky. I really appreciate it. I have some further questions.

For (1), would "Music has strange power" also be used?
The singular would almost never be used like that.
A singular example would be,
'Music has the power to fill us with joy or move us to tears.'

Or if we really want a 'strange power' example,
'Music has the strange power to let people that share no common language communicate deeper than words.'

For (2),
Wonko, you used the phrase "have such luminosity" instead of
"is so bright". Is that because you agree with eeky's opinion below?


Hirashin
I agree with eeky. A 'so bright' example would be,
'When the star went supernova, it was so bright as to be easily observed with the naked eye even in broad daylight.'
 
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I don't think so. The issue is that 'so' in this use implies something extraordinary. Consider,

- He's so fast nobody can hope to beat him in a race.
- The box was so heavy it took four men to lift it.
- It was so dark I couldn't see my hand in front of my face.

Somewhat related, we say 'I'm so tired' or 'I'm so hungry' to mean 'I'm very tired' or 'I'm very hungry'.

Stars being visible (at least on a clear night) is not extraordinary, which is why the 'so' feels a bit off. There are contexts where it could be fine, but in isolation as a neutral comment about a star it seems odd.
 

Mike Cash

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It isn't talking about "stars"; it is talking about "the star". There are a gazillion stars which are not visible to the naked eye. In the context of a single particular star there is nothing unusual about saying the star is so bright as to be visible with the naked eye.
 

hirashin

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Thanks for your help, Chris, Mike and Wonko.
It seems that Mike's view about "the star is so bright" is different from the other people. Mike says :
there is nothing unusual about saying the star is so bright as to be visible with the naked eye.
Hmm...Interesting.

Chris says :
Consider,

- He's so fast nobody can hope to beat him in a race.
- The box was so heavy it took four men to lift it.
- It was so dark I couldn't see my hand in front of my face.
Chris, would you give us any examples using "so ... as to ..."? Can you say the same thing even if you use the phrase "as to"?

Hirashin
 
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I guess if I was to rephrase these with 'as to',
- He's so fast nobody can hope to beat him in a race.
- The box was so heavy it took four men to lift it.
- It was so dark I couldn't see my hand in front of my face.
I could say,

- He is so fast as to be nearly impossible to beat in a race.
- The box was so heavy as to require four men to lift it.
- It was so dark as to make it impossible to see my hand in front of my face.

The last one is quite unnatural, just because the original sentence is a common fixed expression; other than that there's nothing wrong with it. The 'as to' phrasing sounds like something from a book or a documentary, not a conversation.

'so' in 'so ... as to' can be replaced with 'such ... as to' if you rephrase a little to have a noun phrase instead of an adverbial or adjectival phrase.
- He is such a fast runner as to be nearly impossible to beat in a race.
- The box was such a heavy one as to require four men to lift it.
- It was such a dark room as to make it impossible to see my hand in front of my face.

Don't confuse 'so ... as to' with 'so as to' (which means something like 'in order to').
- He ran as fast as he could so as to win the race.
- The four men combined their efforts so as to lift the heavy box.
- I turned on a light so as to be able to see.
You could use this phrase in some conversational settings but it is mostly written language. It's a bit stiff sounding in conversation. We'd more likely say "I turned on a light so that I could see."
 
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I'm going to give my own opinion on your questions, which is a bit different from others':

1. The sentence you give is fine but maybe not best. In English, the difference between a singular and plural noun to describe a general notion such as power is subtle. In general, a singular noun seems to suggest a grander or more poetic scale, while the plural will come across as more purely descriptive. Eg., "the tragedy of war" indicates the tragic quality of war itself, while "the tragedies of war" is more specific and may mean only the tragedies of a particular war. In your case, to say that "music has strange power" is a general statement that is perhaps slightly more idiomatic as "music has a strange power", to move, to inspire, etc. "Music has strange powers", although quite similar in meaning, begs the question of what those powers are; a similar construction is "the witch has strange powers", which is of course a totally different concept. In a context where you want to make a general statement, about art or the human soul, the singular "power" is probably better.

2. First I will address the choice for the blank: (b) is the only one that is idiomatic or ever used in this kind of context. As for singular vs. plural, this connects to your first question; just remember that most of the time, if you're looking for a general expression (the human eye in general, not any one person's eye), stick with the singular. "The", in a similar way, connotes a general quality more than a/an. For reference, there are many expressions that take similar constructions, like "as the crow flies"-- indicating geographic distance on a map (not "as a crow flies" or "as the crows fly"). You can extend this concept to phrases that actually can be put in the plural, such as "the bear hibernates in winter". "Bears hibernate in winter" is the most blunt, factual way to put it, like what you would read in a textbook. "The bear hibernates in winter", by contrast, has a more literary or poetic quality, generalizing from the singular bear to all bears. Where idioms are concerned, or where any kind of grand or expressive phrasing is desired, try the singular first. Now that that is out of the way, I want to address the point about "so bright as to be seen with". As some users have said, this is rather literary in style, but it is not at all wrong. Modern day spoken English tends away from "so...as to" in favor of "...enough as to" or "so...that" or something similar. Eg., "he ran so fast as to beat his brother by a full minute". This phrasing was colloquial (commonly spoken) 100 years ago but it is now on the margins. Today we would say, "he ran fast enough to beat his brother" or "he ran so fast that he beat his brother". In your sentence, however, it doesn't sound so out of place to me, maybe because the content of the sentence isn't very colloquial to begin with. For a documentary or a book, as another user said, this would be completely acceptable. In spoken English it would not be the most common, but it is still acceptable. One final thing. You didn't ask about this, but for completeness I'll just say that "by" is perhaps a slightly better choice than "with". I'm really splitting hairs here (making a distinction between two very similar things), but since your phrasing is a bit more formal and in good English, keep in mind that "by" is often more proper sounding when the sense is "through the faculty of". To give a guideline for with vs. by is difficult, but in some cases like yours, when in the passive voice I think, "by" is a little better. "The various flavors were perceived by his palate", "a wrong note can be picked out by a keen ear", etc. Hopefully that doesn't confuse you.

3. D-G are fine. I'll try to pick out some nuances for you. "Busy"-- probably the most natural choice, although there is some vague sense of redundancy in that both the person and his/her schedule are being called busy. "Tight"-- suggests that you barely have any time in between things; also a little bit business-speak, as if you have meetings all day long. "Crowded"-- a tiny bit unnatural to my mind, but people say this. Maybe more casual, also has a slight connotation that you're not the one responsible for it (the way the crowds just fill up by themselves). "Full"-- a plain way to say it. Probably as common as "busy". Also, C sort of works, but it sounds odd. "My schedule is heavy" sounds like a certain kind of slang, maybe what a surfer or younger guy would say.
 
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