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    #1

    English Grammar

    What's grammatically wrong with my sentence below:

    Ask any friend of yours whether male or female what's his most valuable possession many would reply that it's their mansions or perhaps their brand new imported cars.


    Thanks.

  1. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
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    #2

    Re: English Grammar

    Welcome, AbdullahAhmad.

    Ask any [one] friend of yours whether male or female what's his most valuable possession, and many would reply that it's their mansions or perhaps their brand new imported cars.

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    #3

    Re: English Grammar

    I would want to write it as:
    `
    Ask any friend of yours, whether male or female, what's his most valuable possession. Many would reply that it's their mansions or perhaps their brand new imported cars.
    or:
    Ask any friend of yours (whether male or female) what's his most valuable possession...
    `
    Is it correct to add the commas or parentheses?
    `
    And I might have corrected it wrongly as:
    `
    Ask any friend of yours whether he is male or female. What's his most valuable possession? Many would reply that it's their mansions or perhaps their brand new imported cars.
    `
    But my "wrong" correction is still grammatical, isn't it, although the meaning is different?
    Last edited by dihen; 11-Jun-2006 at 15:53.

  2. rewboss's Avatar

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
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    #4

    Re: English Grammar

    First, you have a singular subject in the first part of the sentence, but it's plural later on. You also have the "generic masculine", which these days you should avoid for the sake of common decency if not grammar. Start the sentence with "Ask your friends" and it becomes much easier.

    Second, it would be more elegant to move the verb in the subordinate clause (the bit beginning with "what") to the end of that clause. This is because it is not a direct question, so it should follow the usual word order of subject+verb: "what their most valuable possession is".

    Third, you need a conjunction before "many".

    I think that just about covers it.


    • Join Date: Mar 2006
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    #5

    Re: English Grammar

    It should be "...what's their most valuable possession,..." Also, not many people have 'mansions' - 'houses' sounds more natural to me.

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    #6

    Re: English Grammar

    Quote Originally Posted by rewboss
    Third, you need a conjunction before "many".
    I actually misinterpreted "many" as "many (people)".

  3. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
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    #7

    Re: English Grammar

    You interpreted it correctly. The problem is 'many' doesn't agree in number with 'friend'.

    Ask a friend ... and many [of them] would ...

    Ask friends what their most valuable possession is and many [of them] would say it's their mansion(s) or perhaps their brand new imported car(s).

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