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My lovely idea.

Does this sentence express the idea belonging to me or just the fact that I love the idea (which is not necessary mine)?

I think this exact phrasing and grammar only expresses me pointing to an idea which is very loved by me.

I think if someone would want to emphasize that this idea is his and it is lovely he should have used "My, lovely, idea". To say "My idea, which is lovely".

What do you think?

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These aren't nuances. –  Robusto Dec 27 '12 at 16:38
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Can you give the context, maybe even the paragraph in which this extremely short fragment is to be used? –  Mitch Dec 27 '12 at 16:50

1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

My is classified as a determiner, like a, the, this, that, some, any. Such words are always placed at the head of a list of a modifiers and are never separated by a comma from the following words.

Accordingly, My x, y, z idea always means My idea which is x, y and z.

So if you want to communicate that the idea is not yours but is lovely in your estimation, you must write something like This idea, which appears lovely to me or (awkwardly, but acceptable in informal writing) This lovely (to me) idea.

Lovely, by the way, means beautiful, comely rather than lovable, beloved.

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Ahh yes! O thou blacke weed, Why art so louely faire? –  spiceyokooko Dec 27 '12 at 17:00
    
@spiceyokooko A lovely citation. In Shakespeare I think the transition is only halfway consummated, so he's able to play with the double sense (consider Tamara's references to her lovely Moor); but already in 1903 OED 1 declares use in the sense "worthy of love" to be obsolete. –  StoneyB Dec 27 '12 at 17:10

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