cocoricot posted:

Please tell me if I write the sentence correctly?

"Never before have I met so warm-hearted a woman as my mother."

Hello, Coco,

Sorry for the delay. I find the sentence rather awkward, though not necessarily incorrect, and was hoping that one of my colleagues would respond, so that I wouldn't have to deal with judging it correct or incorrect.

One awkward feature is that "never before" suggests that now you have met a woman as warm-hearted as your mother.  I also find "so warm-hearted a woman" awkward. I'd prefer "such a warm-hearted woman." I recommend:

  • Never have I met such a warm-hearted woman as my mother.
  • I have never met such a warm-hearted woman as my mother.
  • My mother is the most warm-hearted woman I have ever known.

All of that having been said, the sentiment your sentence expresses is very sweet -- and timely. In the United States, we celebrate Mother's Day on May 12, which is less than two weeks away.

Dear David,

Thank you very much for your reply. 

I'm very glad not only to receive your explanation but also your consideration for a learner. I always feel as warm to be here as my home.

 My mother is not on the earth but her love for me never fades.

I will remember Mother's Day, May 12. It will be very meaningful.

Thank you.  

David, Moderator posted:
cocoricot posted:

Please tell me if I write the sentence correctly?

"Never before have I met so warm-hearted a woman as my mother."

[...] I find the sentence rather awkward, though not necessarily incorrect, and was hoping that one of my colleagues would respond, so that I wouldn't have to deal with judging it correct or incorrect.

One awkward feature is that "never before" suggests that now you have met a woman as warm-hearted as your mother.

Hi, Coco,

I agree with David, and like his versions a lot better.

I have to admit that I made an attempt to answer your question some time ago and, having reached some conclusions that seemed absurd, decided to let it rest. The point is that "before" made it sound as if "I" had met his/her own mother just now! Let's compare with a similar sentence (changing "so" to "such" as suggested by David for the sentence not to sound awkward):

- Never before have I met such a beautiful girl as Mary (whom I've just met).

My feeling (please correct me, David, if I'm wrong) is that, with "never before," the sentence does not describe a life experience ("never in my entire life") but a present experience so that, if a definite noun -- such as "Mary" or "my mother" -- is included to close the comparison, that noun will refer, in my example, to the most beautiful girl I have ever seen (Mary) and, in yours, to the most warm-hearted person you have ever met (your mother). In both cases, it seems to me that "Mary" and "my mother" are recent acquaintances.

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