-1

Asked to comment on the use of the phrase “one big of a question,” I responded that it sounded totally off to me. I’ve always used a noun in the place of “big” here: one hell of a night, one humdinger of a lunch, one devil of a time, etc. Someone countered me with this link and the assertion that it indeed exists because it came up in the Google search. As far as I’m concerned, it’s existence on Google doesn’t automatically make it grammatical or acceptable, but I wonder if perhaps I’m missing something?

20
  • 3
    ONE is normally followed by a countable noun. BIG is an adjective. It doesn’t make sense. – CocoPop Apr 13 at 22:14
  • 3
    I think “one big of something” derives from the expression “not that big of something” like “not that big of a deal”: dailywritingtips.com/not-that-big-of-a-deal - grammarphobia.com/blog/2014/01/not-that-big-of-a-deal.html – user 66974 Apr 13 at 22:19
  • 1
    Big is used metaphorically as a noun on the calque of similar expressions. Its usage is informal, non standard, but the fact that you correctly think that it is ungrammatical is not really relevant from a usage perspective. – user 66974 Apr 14 at 6:08
  • 6
    I just do not git [on purpose] one has to fight for the obvious. The phrase "one big of a question" **is simply not idiomatic in English. It does not follow the pattern as Cocopop instinctively felt. It is the presence of the adjective that makes it unidiomatic here. – Lambie Apr 14 at 14:24
  • 1
    It should be noted that "one big" (without the "of a") is quite idiomatic - "That's one big cake". And, of course usages such as "one hellufa cake" are quite common. It shouldn't be surprising that the two idiomatic patterns got mixed up. – Hot Licks Apr 17 at 12:29
4

You are correct. That is not idiomatic.

While "that big of a [noun]" is commonly used, you can see from this Google Ngram comparison that usage of "one big of" is practically non-existent

5
  • 1
    Yes, obviously. – Lambie Apr 14 at 14:25
  • But (raw data) 700 000+ Google hits for "one big of a ...". Google ngrams don't tell the whole story; their corpora are (as is always the case) selective. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 14 at 15:17
  • It looks like “meme talk” to me. Similar to “cash you ousside” or i can has cheezeburger – ColleenV Apr 14 at 15:18
  • 1
    @EdwinAshworth Sampling some of those hits I find contexts explaining that the phrase is incorrect, and phrases where the punctuation makes it clear it’s not being used as one phrase “...instead of one (BIG of a DEAL)...”, and OCR errors due to source material with multiple columns. A combination of words that results in a lot of results is not correct any more than a combination of words that returns few results is incorrect. – ColleenV Apr 14 at 15:27
  • @Colleen V Most of the early hits are acceptable (for the purpose of analysis) examples. But one suspects Google data here as only 6 pages seem to exist. // One example is given in UD: often a sign of imminent acknowledgement, if only as informal. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 14 at 16:14
-2

I abide by the Edwin Ashworth's point of view on the issue in question (as to the lookout for the usage of the phrase and its relevance).

From a grammatical point of view:

  1. On the one hand "one" can be an adjective meaning "very" that can be put in instead of the Indefinite article before adjectives:
  • "She was keeping a very big secret = She was keeping one big secret", and (from "Your Secret Keeper" by Alison Charm): "[the man might have turned to Teresa to escape from further scandal, but] She was keeping one big of a secret";
  • (from "Love of a Vampire") "He is blue eyes blonde hair guy who looks hot and one big of a flirt person"
  1. On the other hand "one" can be a noun:
  • (from Urban Dictionary) dekahs is another name for a worm - "Hey look at that worm (...at that one)! [That one is very big] That's one big of a dekahs";
  • (from an article on www.thealleytheater.org "For Your Inspiration: The Golden Rules of Designing an Open-Concept Space") "It’s a bit more difficult to arrange a space in an open-concept, precisely because you just have one big of a box to fill (...you have one [box] to fill) — with no walls, no furniture yet, and no guideposts whatsoever".
  1. (some more live examples)
  • "Let's face it. Starting a business is one big of a headache". (www.horeca.co.il);
  • "Three years later here we are and were trying it with a bang and it’s one big of a bang since we grabbed their Yang Dinner Menu with some Beverage Package on our most recent team dinner." (from a blog of a New Zealander about a restauraunt Madam Woo, North Shore City, New Zealand on www.angsarap.net);
  • "I tried crepes, I tried pancakes, but I cannot get this thing to get underneath any of my food being cooked without making one big of a mess." (from a customer review on amazon);
  • "The company shows immense concern aginst this charge through a post on Instagram, and why won’t they, getting charged from a Trillion Dollar tech giant company is one big of a deal." (from "Apple takes legal action against Prepear — This is why" on www.medium.com);
  • "You can also always go with a mt410 then convert the chassis to a ET chassis you'll notice one big of a heck difference." (from www.teknoforums.com);
  • "It was one big of a controversy then that led to the breakup of the Sovereign Prince and her French Actress girlfriend Gisèle Pascal after rumors of her being infertile broke out." (from www.theroyalforums.com);
  • "Together we fall" is one big of a mess but a very addictive one. I read the three books in a row and I am already craving for more. (from a review of "The Storm We Face (Together We Fall, #3)" by Katie May);
  • "Brace yourselves ladies..this is going to be one big of a confession. It's a wrap up of my entire season of football cheer, and the reason why cheerleader was basically ruined for me." (from "Confessions Of A High School Cheerleader" www.fierceboard.com);
  • "They usually prefer starting with a marketplace before making the jump to a personalised website. Now moving the entire catalogue from one place to another becomes one big of a task." (from www.wedgecommerce.com).
  1. (another adjective after "big") "At any rate, you will see some interesting logical essay topics. To find a topic is yet one significant of a task to do." (from www.forum.malighting.com)
0

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.