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Your English: Word grammar: blind

Type: Article

Feel like you’re flying blind? Never fear, we have blind faith in Tim Bowen’s ability to navigate the world of word grammar.

The word blind is most commonly used as an adjective but can also function as a verb, an adverb and a noun.

Apart from its most widely used adjectival meaning of ‘visually impaired’, blind can also mean ‘unable to realize or admit the truth about something’, as in ‘How can you be so blind? He’s obviously lying’. It can also be used to mean ‘unquestioned’, if used in pre-nominal position. Examples of this are blind faith, blind obedience and blind loyalty.

As well as meaning to damage someone’s eyes permanently (blinded in an accident) or temporarily (blinded by the sun), the verb to blind can also be used with the word science meaning to explain something in a complicated way in order to impress someone rather than to help them understand, as in ‘He didn’t want to answer any difficult questions so he decided to blind us with science’.

The adverbial form of blind means ‘without being able to see what is happening or where you are going’, as in ‘The fog was so thick that the pilot had to fly blind’. This means that the pilot flew the plane using instruments only. It can also be used with the verb rob to mean ‘to succeed completely in cheating someone and taking their money’, as in ‘We didn’t realize it at the time but the stallholder robbed us blind’.

The only adjective that blind is used with is drunk. If someone is described as being blind drunk, they are completely drunk.

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