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  1. #1
    englishhobby's Avatar
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    at Brown’s and Smith’s

    Is there a mistake in this sentence? (The task is to identify mistakes if any.)

    They had found refreshments over the way at Brown’s and Smith’s.

    I think yes, there is a mistake since it seemed to be only one cafe, so we should write at Brown and Smith’s. But what if there were two different cafes? Is there a context in which at Brown’s and Smith’s would make sense? Or should we write at Brown’s and at Smith’s in case there were two cafes?
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

  2. #2
    Lynxear's Avatar
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    Re: at Brown’s and Smith’s

    If the task is to find mistakes, there are more issues with that sentence than "Brown's and Smith's". Can you find them?

    As far as "Brown's and Smith's" goes, yes, this may be one of the mistakes since we don't have an object(s) that are possessed by Brown and Smith. For example, they may both possess houses. In this case "Brown's and Smith's houses" would be fine.

    It could be be that the sentence with respect to "Brown's and Smith's" may be fine as written. This would occur if there was a reference to something they possess in the previous sentence.

    For example:

    They were walking through the neighbourhood looking at houses. They stopped at Brown's and Smith's first before looking at others.

    In this case because we have context to work with the use of "Brown's and Smith's" by itself works since there is a reference to "houses" in the previous sentence.

    That sentence that you have posted has two mistakes that have nothing to do with "Brown's and Smith's".

    Show us that you can find those mistakes.
    Experience is recognizing a mistake the second time you make it.
    You don't go to an Englishman when you want good pierogi.

    - Wisdom from my father

  3. #3
    englishhobby's Avatar
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    Re: at Brown’s and Smith’s

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynxear View Post
    If the task is to find mistakes, there are more issues with that sentence than "Brown's and Smith's". <...>
    That sentence that you have posted has two mistakes that have nothing to do with "Brown's and Smith's".

    Show us that you can find those mistakes.
    Actually, the task was to identify mistakes connected with the correct use of the possessive case. If there are other types of mistakes, it's because the exercise was made by a non-native speaker of English. I think the first mistake is that it should be 'on the way', not 'over the way'. As for the second one, I am not sure, perhaps you should use some other verb in place of 'found' (e. g. 'had some refreshments')... Am I wrong?
    Last edited by englishhobby; 27-Aug-2017 at 17:23.
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

  4. #4
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Re: at Brown’s and Smith’s

    "over the way" would be understood to mean "across the road" (on the other side of the road from wherever "they" started).
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  5. #5
    Lynxear's Avatar
    Lynxear is offline Senior Member
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    Re: at Brown’s and Smith’s

    Quote Originally Posted by englishhobby View Post
    Actually, the task was to identify mistakes connected with the correct use of the possessive case. If there are other types of mistakes, it's because the exercise was made by a non-native speaker of English. I think the first mistake is that it should be 'on the way', not 'over the way'. As for the second one, I am not sure, perhaps you should use some other verb in place of 'found' (e. g. 'had some refreshments')... Am I wrong?
    This is not a well written sentence. You did not mention that the task involved use of possessives.

    As I mentioned, with context it is possible that "Brown's and Smith's" could be correct.

    It may be a BE sentence structure but I would have written it.

    "They had found refreshments on the way to Brown’s and Smith’s."
    Experience is recognizing a mistake the second time you make it.
    You don't go to an Englishman when you want good pierogi.

    - Wisdom from my father

  6. #6
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Re: at Brown’s and Smith’s

    There's clearly some ambiguity over the intended meaning of the original. I took it to be an equivalent structure to "They found (bought and drank) a cup of coffee across the road at Starbucks".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  7. #7
    Lynxear's Avatar
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    Re: at Brown’s and Smith’s

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    There's clearly some ambiguity over the intended meaning of the original. I took it to be an equivalent structure to "They found (bought and drank) a cup of coffee across the road at Starbucks".

    Yes, that works too. In Canadian English, we don't think of "way" as being an actual road. We can understand it as such but it does not come immediately to mind when we see it. I agree with the ambiguity being on several levels here.
    Experience is recognizing a mistake the second time you make it.
    You don't go to an Englishman when you want good pierogi.

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