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advise vs. piece of advice

You have words - now what do you do with them?

advise vs. piece of advice

Postby dsteve54 » Wed Sep 30, 2009 7:28 pm

Is there some "technical term" for "piece of", as used in
"piece of advice"?

For example, if I say to you,
"Let me advise you further about this matter.",
it is just interpreted as a neutral informative statement.

But the minute we hear,
"Let me give you a piece of advice about that",
it is immediately interpreted as either emotionally charged, as if you are about to lambaste somebody, or at best it is sort of "lecture mode"; patronizing.

So is there a term for "leading phraseology that signals either displeasure or some other emotion"....the only thing I can come up with is "code word".

The issue came up because some of my Russian friends see "piece of advice" translated to their language to be equivalent to simply the noun "advice". So unwittingly, they are saying things like "Let me give you a piece of advice", not realizing it may be coming off as if they had said, "Let me give you a piece of my mind".

But I do not know if there is some grammatical term I can use to explain this....perhaps is "piece of" considered a "particle"...could that be the word I am after?

Ok, thanks in advance for any response!
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Postby Slava » Mon Mar 15, 2010 9:34 pm

Six months later, and not a blip. Okay, I'll give it a shot.

I think what you've got going here is an idiom. It can't really be explained in a word. I've been out of the Russian world for a while now, so I'm getting slack here, but I think you need to think about how to make the phrase clear in a Russian translation. You need to figure out how to express the difference to your friends, in their language. Don't try to explain the English.
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Postby dsteve54 » Mon Mar 15, 2010 9:51 pm

Thank you for making an effort to at least post a response, whether or not it directly deals with the question.

I suppose people are just too busy running around with their hair on fire (economy, weather disasters, or whatever) to pay much attention to a linguistic site these days.

Sometimes I do end up talking in Russian to somebody and I may not know the exact term, as you have pointed out, but I can try to talk around it, or I guess, the word would be circumlocute. If it is a quite abstract concept, I may end up effectively playing charades in vain on a web cam, and feeling like it is the Tower of Babel all over again, but I do have resources that might take pity on my long enough to hear my spiel. So, yes, with gyrations, I can try to appeal to somebody in Russia or the Ukraine.

Thanks again for the response. I will probably continue to post stuff, fully aware that it may just sit there for x number of weeks/months......often my questions are not "emergencies".
Known in restaurant circles by quasi-Thai moniker, "That Guy" (e.g. heard in the back.."that guy is here again"; "that guy on/at table 10"; "that guy is going for a sirloin again", etc.)

Half the distance in half the states...from half2run.com
dsteve54
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Re: advise vs. piece of advice

Postby Audiendus » Tue Mar 16, 2010 9:58 am

dsteve54 wrote:But I do not know if there is some grammatical term I can use to explain this....perhaps is "piece of" considered a "particle"...could that be the word I am after?

"Piece" in "piece of advice" is called a measure word, which is used to individualize an otherwise uncountable noun. If you want to avoid the association with "piece of my mind", however, you can say "some advice" instead.
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Postby saparris » Tue Mar 16, 2010 10:48 am

"Piece" in "piece of advice" is called a measure word, which is used to individualize an otherwise uncountable noun.


Never knew that. Very interesting.
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