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    #1

    Double possesive

    1. John is my friend.
    2. John is a friend of mine.

    A non-native English teacher said that the sentence1 is not natural, we should use the sentence 2. If "John is my friend" is not natural, can we say "John is my best friend"?

    Thanks for your comment.

    p.s I have changed to a larger Pont as per Barb_D's suggestion.


    Last edited by Winwin2011; 04-May-2012 at 14:26.

  1. nedira's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Double possesive

    Both sentences are fine, but there is a difference between the first sentence and the second one.

    1- John is my friend. It's more specific and personal than the second one. John is a close friend and not just a distant acquaintance.
    2- John is a friend of mine. It's non specific and John is not a particularly a close friend.


  2. FreeToyInside's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Double possesive

    Sentence 1 is very natural! I'm afraid your teacher gave you bad advice.

    Honestly, in AmE, I can't think of any distinction between the two. The first is just a very general statement that answers the question "who is John?" The second is also fairly general, but can sometimes sound like something will follow, like "John is a friend of mine who went to London last year," or "John was a friend of mine who passed away" or something like that. Of course "John is a friend of mine" with nothing following and is also perfectly acceptable.

    (not a teacher, just a language lover)

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Double possesive

    Winwin, could you please choose a larger font in the future? I can barely read it.
    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.

  4. 5jj's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Double possesive

    Quote Originally Posted by nedira View Post

    1- John is my friend. It's more specific and personal than the second one. John is a close friend and not just a distant acquaintance.
    2- John is a friend of mine. It's non specific and John is not a particularly a close friend.
    I don't feel that we can say for certain that the friendship in either of these sentences is necessarily closer than in the other.

  5. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Double possesive

    My thinking is that you use "John is my friend" to show that the relationship is with you (and not someone else).
    Hey, I want to sit next to John. You don't get to sit next to John! John is my friend!
    Who will Peter and John ride with? // Well, John is my friend, so he'll ride with me. Can Peter go in your car?

    And that you use "John is a friend of mine" to answer the question of who this John person is.

    A: So, my sister, my mom, John, and I were...
    B: Wait, who's John?
    A: Oh, John is a friend of mine. Anyway, we were...
    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.

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