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  1. Junior Member
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    #11

    Re: X was first, and (the) second was him.

    First was Chris. Second was John.
    Thank you, that's exactly what I was looking for! I'm not sure jutfrunk would agree, but maybe it's because I got him wrong.

    Does this variant work for both competition and queue contexts?

  2. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #12

    Re: X was first, and (the) second was him.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post

    1. Second place was taken by the Indian grandmaster Surya Ganguly, who tallied 7 1/2-2 1/2.


    2. Third place was taken by Berkeley, and Stanford was last.

    3. Second place was taken jointly by the international master Merab Gagunashvili of Georgia and the grandmaster Levon Aronian of Armenia.
    Those are all grammatical and natural sounding.


    Is there any option to start with "second" in the contex of a queue so that it becomes old information?
    Well, you could use a construction similar to the ones above:

    Second in the queue was X.

    Is that what you mean?

    Can I ask what exactly you're trying to do, Alexey? Why do you want to make such a construction? What's your context? And why do you want to use him?

  3. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #13

    Re: X was first, and (the) second was him.

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Chris came in first place. John came in second.
    I'm not sure how to read these two sentences. Did you mean to omit the second in? If you're using the phrasal verb come in, it's grammatically necessary.

    John came in in first place.

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    #14

    Re: X was first, and (the) second was him.

    Is that what you mean?
    Yes, thank you. Do you think emsr2d2's variant, i.e. "First was X. Second was Y" is also correct?

    Can I ask what exactly you're trying to do, Alexey?
    I tried to explain this in #9. I'd like to know what grammatical means I have to distinguish the new and the old/given information in my example and emphasize the new one. Sometimes it's difficult for me because of the fixed word order in English. I have no such a difficulty when speaking or writing in my native language because it's word order is much more free, so I can start and finish a sentence with any word to make it respectively given or new information.
    Last edited by Alexey86; 30-Nov-2019 at 22:56.

  5. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #15

    Re: X was first, and (the) second was him.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    Do you think emsr2d2's variant, i.e. "First was X. Second was Y" is also correct?
    Sorry, I somehow managed to completely overlook post #11.

    Yes, emsr2d2's variant is correct, of course. Did I imply I thought otherwise? If so, I didn't mean to.

    Like I said, first is a short form in first place/position. Therefore, both X was first and First was X are equivalent, and equally grammatical.

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    #16

    Re: X was first, and (the) second was him.

    both X was first and First was X are equivalent
    Thank you! As I see it, they are not equivalent with respect to new/given information. The former tells us what place X took, and the latter tell us who took first place.

    Like I said, first is a short form in first place/position.
    Does "first" here function as a pronoun or noun? And one more question, is there any case when I should put "the" before numerals when it comes to a queue? "First in the queue was X" sounds odd to me because "first", be it a noun or pronoun, is not a contraction for "in first place" (or is it?) as it is in the case of a competition, and "the queue" is obviously definite.
    Last edited by Alexey86; 01-Dec-2019 at 00:15.

  7. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #17

    Re: X was first, and (the) second was him.

    Alexy, we comment on something or make a comment about something.
    Not a professional teacher

  8. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #18

    Re: X was first, and (the) second was him.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    As I see it, they are not equivalent with respect to new/given information. The former tells us what place X took, and the latter tell us who took first place.
    Well, it's not quite as simple as that, because the 'Given-Before-New Principle is not quite as straightforward as you may be thinking, and it's often violated, but yes, your thinking here is reasonable.

    Does "first" here function as a pronoun or noun?
    Where do you mean? The word first in the phrase in first place? Or the word first in X was first?

    Anyway, whichever you mean, think of these as attributive and predicative adjectives respectively, both being equivalent to, as I've already said twice, 'in first place/position'.

    And one more question, is there any case when I should put "the" before numerals when it comes to a queue? "First in the queue was X" sounds odd to me because "first", be it a noun or pronoun, is not a contraction for "in first place" (or is it?) as it is in the case of a competition, and "the queue" is obviously definite.
    I think you want to use the because you can't help thinking of first as referring to a person. That's why you asked whether it's a noun, isn't it?

    Well, yes, you can do that if you want but the grammar would change. As you say, the first would then be a noun phrase. Instead of meaning 'in first position' (as it does in First in the queue was X), it would mean 'the first person'.

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    #19

    Re: X was first, and (the) second was him.

    Circling back to the original post, I think that part of the problem in that if you insist on starting the sentence (or in this case an independent clause) with "second was..." then the correct pronoun is the subjective he as in: X was first and second was he. But today that sounds just plain weird, which is why we don't use that form. We would either:
    A. Use some other subjective, such as a name: X was first and second was Y.
    OR
    B. Reorder the sentence/clause so the subjective pronoun sounds natural: X was first and he was second.

  10. Junior Member
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    #20

    Re: X was first, and (the) second was him.

    Tarheel said,
    Alexy, we comment on something or make a comment about something.
    Sorry, Tarheel, I'm afraid I missed the point..

    junfrunk said,
    Where do you mean? The word first in the phrase in first place? Or the word first in X was first? Anyway, whichever you mean, think of these as attributive and predicative adjectives respectively
    I mean "First was X". I'm confused because I thought we couldn't usually start a sentence with an adjective in English. In "Yellow is my favorite color", "yellow" function as an uncountable/mass noun. Therefore, it goes without "a/the". If I say, "The yellow is my favorite color" I mean a specific example of this color in a given context. Is "first" also an uncountable/mass noun? Or, maybe I should think of it as the proper name of this position?

    I think you want to use the because you can't help thinking of first as referring to a person. That's why you asked whether it's a noun, isn't it?
    Yes, you're right.

    J&K Tutoring said,
    then the correct pronoun is the subjective he
    Thank you! Would it be also correct if I pointed the finger at him?
    Last edited by Alexey86; 01-Dec-2019 at 12:26.

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