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absent

Posted: Sun Jan 10, 2021 5:38 am
by navi
The Price of Salt (later reissued as Carol) – the lesbian love story Highsmith published under the pen name Claire Morgan in 1952 – is curiously absent of these pessimisms. There are no violent crimes, no sociopathic protagonists.

Source:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2021/ ... SApp_Other

Is the first sentence grammatical and meaningful?
Does it mean what it is supposed to mean?

I think we need 'devoid' instead of 'absent'. Has 'absent' been used correctly here?

Gratefully,
Navi

Re: absent

Posted: Sun Jan 10, 2021 6:39 am
by Erik_Kowal
It's not a very common formulation -- probably because it sounds rather stilted nowadays -- but it is a Standard English expression. Other examples:

His mind was absent of conscious thoughts.

At this time of year, the park was absent of flowers.


As you suggest, "devoid of" is a valid alternative in your specimen sentence. So is "without".

Re: absent

Posted: Mon Jan 11, 2021 8:51 pm
by Phil White
I'm not entirely sure that I would call it "standard", but you certainly hear it and see it. A quick look at Google Ngram suggests that it quite suddenly became more popular in the 2000s. I can find very few examples of the usage prior to the 1990s.

For myself, I would not use it.