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    #1

    Introduction in English

    Hello,

    recently I've taken a funny (ha-ha and peculiar) test and I was supposed to find out whether a particular person is male, female or of an unspecified gender:

    "I should like to introduce you to my sister Amanda, who lives in New York, to Mark, my brother who doesn't, and to my only other sibling, Evelyn."

    According to the results, Evelyn is male. I thought it could not be said, but apparently it could. So, what should have induced me to think that Evelyn was male?

    Thank you in advance

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    #2

    Re: Introduction in English

    Evelyn (name) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I have no idea. Evelyn is more often a female.

    Of course, this sentence is completely unnatural.

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Introduction in English

    Quote Originally Posted by Jakub1606 View Post
    Hello,

    recently I've taken a funny (ha-ha and peculiar) test and I was supposed to find out whether a particular person is male, female or of an unspecified gender:

    "I should like to introduce you to my sister Amanda, who lives in New York, to Mark, my brother who doesn't, and to my only other sibling, Evelyn."

    According to the results, Evelyn is male. I thought it could not be said, but apparently it could. So, what should have induced me to think that Evelyn was male?

    Thank you in advance
    From the evidence given I would have chosen "unspecified gender".

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Introduction in English

    Quote Originally Posted by Jakub1606 View Post
    Hello,

    recently I've taken a funny (ha-ha and peculiar) test and I was supposed to find out whether a particular person is male, female or of an unspecified gender:

    "I should like to introduce you to my sister Amanda, who lives in New York, to Mark, my brother who doesn't, and to my only other sibling, Evelyn."

    According to the results, Evelyn is male. I thought it could not be said, but apparently it could. So, what should have induced me to think that Evelyn was male?

    Thank you in advance
    The point of the test is to understand what the relative clauses say and don't say.
    In the case of Amanda, we know she is a female (sister) and she lives in New York. But we find out that she lives in New York via a non-defining clause. That is different from "my sister Amanda who lives in New York". Without the commas, that is a defining clause. According to the people who wrote this silly question, the use of the non-defining clause limits you to one sister, while the use of the defining clause allows the possibility of another sister. Mark has to be a male (brother). Evelyn is the third sibling. If you only have one sister, then Evelyn must be a male.

    In my opinion, this is a real stretch. By their very nature, non-defining clauses are accessory information and can be eliminated from the sentence. This puts undue emphasis on the words "my sister Amanda" as conveying that she is your only sister. And that is an error in my opinion. It would not be uncommon to introduce three siblings as "my sister Amanda, my brother Mark, and my sister Evelyn. While the defining clause creates the likelihood that you have another sister (one who doesn't live in New York), the use of the non-defining clause does not rule that out.

    Therefore, in the original problem, I would choose "unspecified gender" for Evelyn.

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    #5

    Re: Introduction in English

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    The point of the test is to understand what the relative clauses say and don't say.
    In the case of Amanda, we know she is a female (sister) and she lives in New York. But we find out that she lives in New York via a non-defining clause. That is different from "my sister Amanda who lives in New York". Without the commas, that is a defining clause. According to the people who wrote this silly question, the use of the non-defining clause limits you to one sister, while the use of the defining clause allows the possibility of another sister. Mark has to be a male (brother). Evelyn is the third sibling. If you only have one sister, then Evelyn must be a male.

    In my opinion, this is a real stretch. By their very nature, non-defining clauses are accessory information and can be eliminated from the sentence. This puts undue emphasis on the words "my sister Amanda" as conveying that she is your only sister. And that is an error in my opinion. It would not be uncommon to introduce three siblings as "my sister Amanda, my brother Mark, and my sister Evelyn. While the defining clause creates the likelihood that you have another sister (one who doesn't live in New York), the use of the non-defining clause does not rule that out.

    Therefore, in the original problem, I would choose "unspecified gender" for Evelyn.
    I know grammarians have rules about this, but I really doubt that in real life you can tell if someone has another sister by their use or non-use of a comma in these types of sentences. I doubt many native speakers know the difference or intend to make such a distinction.

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Introduction in English

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    I know grammarians have rules about this, but I really doubt that in real life you can tell if someone has another sister by their use or non-use of a comma in these types of sentences. I doubt many native speakers know the difference or intend to make such a distinction.
    I completely agree. I just wanted to deal with it on the ground that it was delivered.

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    #7

    Re: Introduction in English

    It's difficult to hear the commas in speech, though.

  4. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Introduction in English

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    It's difficult to hear the commas in speech, though.
    Try this: Victor Borge Phonetic Pronunciation - YouTube

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    #9

    Re: Introduction in English

    Will it catch on?

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