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  1. #1
    English4everyone is offline Member
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    Default stepbrother / half-brother / blood brother

    It's confusing to me.
    Are "stepbrother" and "half-brother" different?
    Another question:
    Can we use "blood brother / sister" to emphasize someone is our real brother / sister?

  2. #2
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    Barb_D is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: stepbrother / half-brother / blood brother

    Mary is a widow. She has a son, Martin.
    Peter is a widower. He has a son, Paul.

    Mary and Peter get married. Martin and Paul are step-brothers. Martin is Peter's stepson. Paul is Mary's stepson.

    Mary and Peter have a little girl, Maribelle. Martin and Paul are both her half-brothers. She is their half-sister. They share one parent.

    I have heard "full sister" but not "blood sister." That may be used elsewhere, though.

    Be careful with the word "real" -- A person's half-sisters/half-brothers are very real. To use "real" for some relationships suggests others are not important. If you want to see a mother who has adopted a child get angry very quickly, ask her if she has any "real" children of her own. My coworker has four half-siblings. She would be irate if you suggested that only her sister from her parents' first marriage is her "real sister."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  3. #3
    English4everyone is offline Member
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    Default Re: stepbrother / half-brother / blood brother

    Barb_d, thanks very much for your quick and comprehensive reply. The example was really helpful.

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: stepbrother / half-brother / blood brother

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I have heard "full sister" but not "blood sister." That may be used elsewhere, though.
    I haven't heard it in BrE.

  5. #5
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: stepbrother / half-brother / blood brother

    Blood brother - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Blood brother can refer to one of two things: two males related by birth, or two or more men not related by birth who have sworn loyalty to each other. This is usually done in a ceremony, known as a blood oath, where the blood of each man is mingled together. The process usually provides a participant with a heightened symbolic sense of attachment with another participant.

    ...

    In modern times, a common blood-brother ceremony includes having each person make a small cut, usually on a finger, hand or the forearm, and then the two cuts are pressed together and bound, the idea being that each person's blood now flows in the other participant's veins. However, such an act is considered highly inadvisable from a medical standpoint due to the risk of blood-borne diseases.



  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: stepbrother / half-brother / blood brother

    Good point- we have that in BrE for swapping blood, but I wouldn't call my brothers, blood brothers.

  7. #7
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: stepbrother / half-brother / blood brother

    Yes, if I called someone my "blood brother" you would assume he was not my biological brother, but that we had made some sort of oath.

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