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  1. #1
    jacob123 is offline Member
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    Post a brother officer, and his best friend,his...

    Does "a brother officer, and his best friend" refer to "one single person" and do both "his" and "him" refer to "Mr. William M. Speight"?


    In the same article in Pearson's Magazine the story is told of Mr. William M. Speight, who had lost a brother officer, and his best friend, in the Ypres salient in December, 1915, seeing this officer come to his dug-out the same night. The next evening Mr. Speight invited another officer to come to the dugout in order to confirm him should the vision reappear. The dead officer came once more and, after pointing to a spot on the floor of the dug-out, vanished. A hole was dug at the indicated spot, and at a depth of three feet there was discovered a narrow tunnel excavated by the Germans, with fuses and mines timed to explode thirteen hours later. By the discovery of this mine the lives of a number of men were saved.

    "The History of Spiritualism," by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

  2. #2
    GoesStation is online now Moderator
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    Re: a brother officer, and his best friend,his...

    Quote Originally Posted by jacob123 View Post
    Does "a brother officer, and his best friend" refer to one single person [no quotation marks] and do both "his" and "him" refer to "Mr. William M. Speight"?
    Yes to the first question. Could the person Mr. Speight lost that is, who was killed have been Mr. Speight himself? Even a credulous spiritualist like Arthur Conan Doyle would have trouble explaining that.
    I am not a teacher.

  3. #3
    PeterCW is offline Member
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    Re: a brother officer, and his best friend,his...

    The use of a comma before "and his best friend" does suggest two people but the context makes it clear that that isn't the case.
    Retired magazine editor and native British English speaker - not a teacher

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