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  1. Key Member
    Academic
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    #1

    for the second time, a man was arrested for...

    1) For the second time in the last two weeks, a man was arrested for cross-dressing.
    2) A man was arrested for cross-dressing for the second time in the last two weeks.

    Can we tell if it was the same man or a different man each time?

    I think both sentences could be read both ways.

    Gratefully,
    Navi.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    English Teacher
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    #2

    Re: for the second time, a man was arrested for...

    You're right. They could both be taken both ways.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  3. VIP Member
    English Teacher
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    #3

    Re: for the second time, a man was arrested for...

    We can't really know for sure, of course, but the different orders of the sentences focus on different things. We usually put things that we want to focus on at the front of the sentence.

    In 1) the use of the non-specific "a man" suggests to me that it was a different man. The focus of the sentence is that this kind of event has happened twice now. There's no reason to assume it was the same man.

    In 2) I think it is more likely to be the same man, since "A man" appears at the front of the sentence. This suggests to me that it refers to one unspecified individual, who is the focus of the sentence.

  4. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: for the second time, a man was arrested for...

    Em and Jut are both right, Navi - and so are you. The two lines could be taken either way, and the placement of the phrases might signal the meaning.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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