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    #1

    a German and a French doctor

    1) A German and a French doctor walked into the room.
    2) The German and the French doctor walked into the room.
    3) The German and a French doctor walked into the room.

    Is the German a doctor?

    I think '1' and '2' are ambiguous, but in '3' the German is not a doctor.


    Gratefully,
    Navi.

  1. Roman55's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: a German and a French soldier

    I agree with your conclusion.

    If you remove the article before 'French' they're both doctors.
    I am not a teacher

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    #3

    Re: a German and a French doctor

    I have changed your thread title, as your sentences are not about soldiers.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: a German and a French soldier

    Quote Originally Posted by Roman55 View Post
    I agree with your conclusion.

    If you remove the article before 'French' they're both doctors.
    If you remove the article before "French", you're left with "A German and French doctor walked into the room". That's ambiguous. It could mean that two doctors walked into the room - one was German and one was French. It could also mean that one doctor walked into the room - he/she held both German and French nationality.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: a German and a French soldier

    These might be little exercises in logic, but they are hardly likely to occur in a context that wouldn't make it quite clear what's going on.
    All they all doctors? Then everyone already knows what it meant.
    Are there masses of mixed nationalities, and a few doctors, but only one German? Then everyone knows what it meant.
    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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    #6

    Re: a German and a French soldier

    Thank you all very much,

    I agree that within a specific context the chances of misunderstanding the sentences are extremely low.

    Gratefully,
    Navi.

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    #7

    Re: a German and a French soldier

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    It could also mean that one doctor walked into the room - he/she held both German and French nationality.
    Without further context, that would be my default interpretation with the article.

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