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Usage of "the common man"


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Help me with this exercise | Expression: "Although he has got a lot of potential..."
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Usage of "the common man" #16 (permalink) Tue Jun 10, 2008 17:25 pm   Usage of "the common man"
 

Thanks a lot, Jamie and Inga. So that usage is very common? :O
Then could you please give me some more examples?

Thank you very much in advance
Nessie.
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Usage of "the common man" #17 (permalink) Tue Jun 10, 2008 19:29 pm   Usage of "the common man"
 

Here are some examples:

1. The emphatic time of history is not the emphatic time of the common man, who throughout the change of nations feels an itch on his shin, a pain in his head, hunger, thirst, a lack of sleep... (Stephen Crane)

2. Except for the lightning conductor, it was 250 years before electricity stepped out of the cabinet of scientific curiosities into the life of the common man... (H.G. Wells)

3. Democracy is not founded on pity for the common man; democracy is founded on reverence for the common man... (G.K. Chesterton)

4. The virtues of the common man might perhaps signify vices and weaknesses in a philosopher. (From a translation of Nietzsche)

I don't know whether anyone else will agree; but it seems to me that while we can pluralise

5. The barn owl is an attractive bird.

to

6. Barn owls are attractive birds.

"common men" isn't an entirely satisfactory plural for "the common man"; and that instead, we have to resort to e.g. "ordinary people".

Best wishes,

MrP
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Usage of "the common man" #18 (permalink) Tue Jun 10, 2008 20:17 pm   Usage of "the common man"
 

MrPedantic wrote:
I don't know whether anyone else will agree; but it seems to me that while we can pluralise

5. The barn owl is an attractive bird.

to

6. Barn owls are attractive birds.

"common men" isn't an entirely satisfactory plural for "the common man"; and that instead, we have to resort to e.g. "ordinary people".
I'll second that.
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Usage of "the common man" #19 (permalink) Wed Jun 11, 2008 4:25 am   Usage of "the common man"
 

MrPedantic wrote:
3. Democracy is not founded on pity for the common man; democracy is founded on reverence for the common man... (G.K. Chesterton)

What a beautiful, very true statement! G.K. Chesterton is an endless source of quotations that are beautiful expressions of the truth. And many of them are extremely funny.

Molly wrote:
I don't know whether anyone else will agree; but it seems to me that while we can pluralise

5. The barn owl is an attractive bird.

to

6. Barn owls are attractive birds.

"common men" isn't an entirely satisfactory plural for "the common man"; and that instead, we have to resort to e.g. "ordinary people".

I also agree.
Jamie (K)
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Joined: 24 Feb 2006
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Location: Detroit, Michigan, USA

Usage of "the common man" #20 (permalink) Wed Jun 11, 2008 16:24 pm   Usage of "the common man"
 

Thanks all,
I never know this usage is so popular. However I still have two more queries:
1. Which usage is more commonly used: "the common man" or "common men"?
2. Sorry for my dumbness, but so far I still don't get when we should use "the common man" and when "common men" :(
_________________
:(... something we never have again, I know... I guess I really really know.. :(

Sorry seems to be the hardest word...
Nessie
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Joined: 16 Feb 2008
Posts: 1102

Usage of "the common man" #21 (permalink) Wed Jun 11, 2008 16:50 pm   Usage of "the common man"
 

Nessie, it's all explained in the thread. Read it again and meditate over it. Either that or be patient, because more reading and more exposure to natural English will reveal how we use which one, and when.
Jamie (K)
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Joined: 24 Feb 2006
Posts: 6771
Location: Detroit, Michigan, USA

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