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  1. #1
    jitkajar is offline Newbie
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    What is the difference i meaning between these 2 sentences?

    Could you explain the difference in meaning, if any, between the following 2 sentences?

    (a) My brother, who is in the army, has just moved to Paris.
    (b) My brother who is in the army has just moved to Paris.

  2. #2
    ramtin is offline Newbie
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    Re: What is the difference i meaning between these 2 sentences?

    In the first sentence there is an emphasis on (my brother).I think both of them is grammatically correct

  3. #3
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Re: What is the difference i meaning between these 2 sentences?

    Quote Originally Posted by jitkajar View Post
    Could you explain the difference in meaning, if any, between the following 2 sentences?

    (a) My brother, who is in the army, has just moved to Paris.
    (b) My brother who is in the army has just moved to Paris.

    ********** NOT A TEACHER **********

    Hello, Jitkajar.

    (1) We have recently had some interesting threads on this matter.

    (2) There is not 100% agreement.

    (3) But this is one explanation that some (many?) people accept:

    My brother has moved to Paris. That is what I am telling you. Then I

    give you some extra information about his being in the army. I put that

    extra information between periods. That means that the information

    is not super important. It can be erased. Therefore, the sentence is

    really: My brother has moved to Paris. Some (not all) people feel that

    this shows that you have only one brother.

    ***

    My brother who is in the army has just moved to Paris. =

    I did not use commas. Why? Because "who is in the army" is

    super important information that cannot be erased. It cannot be

    erased because I want to identify which brother has moved. It is

    the one who is in the army, not the brother of mine who is a doctor in

    New York. As you can see, many people feel that such a sentence

    without commas means you have at least two brothers.

    Thank you

  4. #4
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Re: What is the difference i meaning between these 2 sentences?

    Quote Originally Posted by jitkajar View Post
    Could you explain the difference in meaning, if any, between the following 2 sentences?

    (a) My brother, who is in the army, has just moved to Paris.
    (b) My brother who is in the army has just moved to Paris.
    You should look up defining (restrictive) and non-defining (non-restrictive) 'which/who' clauses.

    a) is non-defining. It adds extra information about the brother.
    b) is defining/restricting. It restricts/defines the meaning of "My brother" to "My brother who is in the army". Which brother? The brother who is in the army.

  5. #5
    euncu's Avatar
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    Re: What is the difference i meaning between these 2 sentences?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    As you can see, many people feel that such a sentence

    without commas means you have at least two brothers.

    Thank you
    Thanks again for your elaborate answer (as usual)

    You, as a native-speaker, may naturally draw such a conclusion from this kind of sentence. Naturally, because until now it's a good chance that you have heard thousands of them. But me, as a non-native-speaker, I couldn't see the information or the tips in the sentence enable me to reach the same conclusion you did.

    If the speaker was saying "the one in the army", of course there would be no problem, and everbody would know that he/she has more than one brother. But from the given (both) sentences, I couldn't say how many syblings he/she has, let alone the number of brothers. So, I'll be very happy if you show me a practical means, if there is one, to facilitate me to tell if one has one brother or more than one brothers from this kind of sentences, just by the presence or absence of commas.

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by euncu; 15-Jul-2010 at 14:14. Reason: correcting the typos.

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    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Re: What is the difference i meaning between these 2 sentences?

    Quote Originally Posted by euncu View Post
    Thanks again for your elaborate anwer (as usual)

    You, as a native-speaker, may naturally draw such a conclusion from this kind of sentence. Naturally, because until know it's a good chance that you have heard thousands of them. But me, as a non-native-speaker, I couldn't see the information or the tips in the sentence enable me to reach the same conclusion you did.

    If the speaker was saying "the one in the army", of course there would be no problem, and everbody would know that he/she has more than one brother. But from the given (both) sentences, I couldn't say how may syblings he/she has, let alone the number of brothers. So, I'll be very happy if you show me a practical means, if there is one, to facilitate me to
    tell if one has one brother or more than one brothers from this kind of sentences, just by the presence or absence of commas.

    Thanks in advance.
    ********** NOT A TEACHER **********

    Hello, Euncu.

    (1) Thank you for your kind note.

    (2) All that I know (or think I know) about this matter is

    contained in my post.

    (3) You have made an excellent observation that others also have.

    I am not able to answer your question. I simply do not know.

    (4) You have been a member much longer than I. So you know all

    about how to find other threads (I am basically computer illiterate).

    If you will check another recent (and long) thread on this matter,

    you will find that some of the posters in that previous thread seem

    to address your excellent question.

    Thank you

  7. #7
    MASM's Avatar
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    Re: What is the difference i meaning between these 2 sentences?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    You should look up defining (restrictive) and non-defining (non-restrictive) 'which/who' clauses.

    a) is non-defining. It adds extra information about the brother.
    b) is defining/restricting. It restricts/defines the meaning of "My brother" to "My brother who is in the army". Which brother? The brother who is in the army.
    I agree,
    I think that by adding commas you're adding extra information about your brother.
    Without commas it means that the speaker has more than one brother and wants to specify that is the one who is in the army.

  8. #8
    jitkajar is offline Newbie
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    Re: What is the difference i meaning between these 2 sentences?

    Thanks to everyone who replied so comprehensively. This really helped me.

    Regards,

    Jitka

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