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Nothing (in) particular

Posted by Philip on September 03, 2003

In Reply to: Nothing (in) particular posted by ESC on September 03, 2003

: : I think "nothing particular" looks more natural in both these contexts. In my opinion "in particular" is used to mention some thing as a better example of a condition, situation, event etc.

: : : Hello. Let me ask you one question.

: : : Which sentence do you think is more natural?

: : : 1. Are you busy now?
: : : No, nothing particular. No, nothing in particular.

: : : 2. What do you do in your free timea?
: : : Nothing particular. Nothing in particular.

: : : Thanks in advance.

: I've never heard "nothing particular."

: As written, the first sentence is a "yes or no" question. It would be "more natural" using the word "doing":
: What are you doing? Nothing in particular.

: Then, sentence 2:
: What do you do in your spare time?
: Nothing in particular.

: Of course, the younger generation would answer "hanging out."

I'm no grammarian but phrases/sayings need gramatical ligitimacy. So I'd agree with ESC, ie:
Are you busy?
A direct yes/no question. So the answer in this case should be "No. Nothing in particular" because the full responses would be:
"No. [I'm doing] nothing in particular".
The other alternative:
"No. [I'm doing] nothing particular" puts the emphasis on the particular which is not the question we are answering.

On the other hand the free time question seeks information beyond a simple yes/no so:
"Nothing particular" works because the emphasis is on particular, answering the question.

Anyone who has read this far might also consider in response to are your busy?:
"No. [I'm doing] nothing interesting" - which might explain why I'm responding to this question rather than getting on with my paid employment!