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What is the difference between the following sentences?

  1. I caught them watching tv in the nude.
  2. I caught them watching tv nude.
  • 1
    Irrelevant side note: 'naked' means you have no clothes on. 'nekkid' means you have no clothes on and you're up to something – Mitch Oct 8 '17 at 20:01
  • @Mitch And increasingly, both mean that you do actually have clothes on, just less than expected. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 28 '17 at 9:43
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The two sentences have the same meaning, but the grammar is different.

I caught them watching TV in the nude.

The adjective "nude" is here a fused determiner head in the preposition phrase "in the nude" -- an idiom meaning "naked". Indirectly then, "nude" is a kind of predicative adjunct (or complement) with “them” as predicand.

I caught them watching TV nude.

Again, "nude" is an adjective, though here more clearly functioning as a predicative adjunct with the object "them" as predicand.

  • I realise that you have exactly answered the question, but do you, personally, have a preference for one or the other ways of expressing the wording ? – Nigel J Oct 8 '17 at 16:43
  • I prefer the first one, possibly because of the idiomatic use of "in the nude". – BillJ Oct 8 '17 at 16:50
  • Alternatively with “I” as predicand, if you’re into that sort of thing. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 28 '17 at 9:44
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It would be more correct to refer to the persons in the incident as 'naked', actually. 'Nude' refers to an unembarrassing situation, not one which is inappropriate.

https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-difference-between-naked-and-nude-if-any

'Nude' refers to the human form, as such. 'Naked' draws attention to the fact that it is unclothed, and - generally speaking - it would be expected to be clothed.

'Naked' derives from the Old English meaning 'bare, empty, not fully clothed'.

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=naked

'Nude' is the late Middle English from the Latin nudus, meaning 'plain or explicit'. [Quoted from my Oxford Dictionary of English]

  • 1
    More correct? No, it's just a nuance of meaning. – Mitch Oct 8 '17 at 16:13
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    This doesn't actually answer the question, which was what is the difference between "nude" and "in the nude". – Peter Shor Oct 8 '17 at 16:17
  • Admittedly so, but I think it is relevant and interesting, myself. – Nigel J Oct 8 '17 at 16:20

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