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One of my friends has this in one of his E-mail signatures: «"Kosher" Cellphones (cellphones with blocked SMS, video and Internet) are menace to the deaf. They must be outlawed!».

Is this sentence correct or should it preferably be "a menace"? Comparing the Google results for "are a menace" vs. "are menace" and "is a menace" vs. "is menace" shows that the variations articulated with the "a" are much more common, and I also think an "a" is missing, but I'm not sure.

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2 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Using Foos are menace implies that menace is used as an adjective. None of my dictionaries provides a definition for menace as an adjective. It can only be used as verb or as noun. The adjective form of it is menacing.

Thus, Foos are a menace seems much more legit.

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Thanks for the reply. –  Shlomi Fish Jul 27 '12 at 19:10
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Phrases like "are menace to" (or "are menace for") are used in headlines where it's acceptable to remove articles so long as the meaning is clear. Examples include:

"Rubber bands are menace to wildlife"

"Aggressive crows are menace for Tokyo cyclists"

"Deer are menace to orchards and gardens"

However, it shouldn't be used in any context other than a headline as it reads as ungrammatical to native speakers.

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Thanks for the reply. –  Shlomi Fish Jul 27 '12 at 19:10
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