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    #1

    John's brother

    1-I met John's brother yesterday.

    I know that John has more than one brother. I meet one of his brothers. We have never talked about that brother before. I think it would be more natural to say:

    2-I met a brother of John's yesterday.
    or:
    3-I met one of John's brothers yesterday.

    But would "1" be wrong in this context? Don't people use such sentences in such contexts?

    Gratefully,
    Navi.

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    #2

    Re: John's brother

    not a teacher

    All of these sentences are natural and correct, only context makes one more likely than the other.
    If you are talking to somebody who knows that John has two brothers but also knows that only one of them is in town, then you might well use #1 without fear of confusion.

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    #3

    Re: John's brother

    Thank you very much JMurray,

    What if the person I am speaking to has no idea how many brothers John has and all of John's brothers are in town. Could I still use "1"?

    I think "1" is generally used either when we know which brother we are talking about or when John has only one brother. It implies we are speaking of a specific brother. But then again, my feeling is that it could be used in other cases as well, although it might lead to misunderstanding. I think people use it as a shorthand form of the other two.

    Would you say I am correct?

    Gratefully,
    Navi.

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    #4

    Re: John's brother

    Quote Originally Posted by navi tasan View Post
    Thank you very much JMurray,

    What if the person I am speaking to has no idea how many brothers John has and all of John's brothers are in town. Could I still use "1"?

    I think "1" is generally used either when we know which brother we are talking about or when John has only one brother. It implies we are speaking of a specific brother. But then again, my feeling is that it could be used in other cases as well, although it might lead to misunderstanding. I think people use it as a shorthand form of the other two.

    Would you say I am correct?

    Gratefully,
    Navi.
    If John only has one brother, then you would just say "I met John's brother yesterday". I can't think of a context in which "I met a brother of John's yesterday" would be natural. If he has more than one brother then "I met one of John's brothers yesterday".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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