"Truest of friends" vs. "truest friends"

3

The following are three authentic examples from Google Books:

  1. Both women experience loss, from men to dreams, but through it all they remain the truest of friends for 50 amazing years.

  2. Loyalty makes the wolf a good member of the pack, the dog the truest of friends, the savage a good member of the band, the tribe.

  3. We are sharing with a truest of friends and there must also be time to reflect and unburden ourselves, to voice our hopes, disappointments, regrets, and to savor his companionship.

I'm wondering what role the preposition of plays in these examples. Why not just say "truest friends" instead?

Are these two constructions interchangeable? Any contextual nuances implied?

Kinzle B

Posted 2015-12-10T16:29:12.283

Reputation: 7 089

Same meaning implied I reckon, but there's a smallest poetic effect to the usage in question. :) – M.A.R. – 2015-12-10T16:55:32.630

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  • should be "the truest of friends".
  • < – user3169 – 2015-12-10T17:04:17.217

    Answers

    1

    Your truest of friends is the most truest of your friends, it implies the top of a hierarchy, whereas a group of people can be your truest friends:

    My truest friends are the ones I knew in grammar school.

    Your truest of friends is your very best friend.

    Of my truest friends, David is my truest of friends.

    Though this does sound a bit strange because of the meaning of true.
    If you substitute closest, it might be clearer:

    I've known my closest friends for a long time.
    I've know my closest of friends, David, since we were 4 years old.

    Peter

    Posted 2015-12-10T16:29:12.283

    Reputation: 63 575

    He is not asking for the definition, but on the grammatical role of the "of" in the phrase. – Nihilist_Frost – 2015-12-11T01:59:37.897

    This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post. - From Review

    – Nihilist_Frost – 2015-12-11T02:00:00.000

    Does not implies the top of a hierarchy answer what of does, especially in light of the proposed alternative? – Peter – 2015-12-11T02:12:24.960

    @Peter user3169 says 3) should be "the truest of friends". Do you agree? – Kinzle B – 2016-09-28T14:08:52.273

    @KinzleB It could be either "a" or "the", the context is slightly ambiguous, is it a group of "truest of friends" which are sharing their thoughts with each other, or are they sharing their thoughts with a single member of their group of "truest of friends"? "The 10 of us are the truest of friends and being part of the group, he is a truest of friends (a truest friend)". If you were to say "He is the truest of friends" it would refine the scope of the group since " the truest" is a superlative. The #3 sentence could be read either way depending on what the speaker wants to convey. – Peter – 2016-09-28T17:42:58.927