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    #1

    times, when

    I met him three times, when he came to our office.

    Does this sentence necessarily imply
    1. That he came to our office ONLY three times.
    2. That I met him ONLY three times.
    3. Neither.

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    #2

    Re: times, when

    Quote Originally Posted by azz View Post
    I met him three times, when he came to our office.

    Does this sentence necessarily imply
    1. That he came to our office ONLY three times.
    2. That I met him ONLY three times.
    3. Neither.

    The first option is incorrect because he might have come to the office more than 3 times (and I wasn't in the office so I didn't meet him).

    The second option might be incorrect because I might have met him more than three times, but not in the office. (For example: "I met him four times, three of which were in the office")

    Therefore, option 3 is correct - Neither.


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    #3

    Re: times, when

    1. I met him three times, when he came to our office.
    2. I met him three times when he came to our office.

    My understanding is that the two sentences differ in meaning.

    1. means I never met him outside my office. He came at least once (maybe only once) to my office and there I met him three times in my whole life.
    2. does not preclude the possibility of us having met outside the office. So we may have met hundreds of times.

    I met him only in the office, once each of the three times he came. -- 3 comings; 1-1-1 meetings, 3 meetings altogether

  1. Soup's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: times, when

    Hi azz

    The comma is awkward. Omit it:

    I met him three times when he came to our office.

    1. That he came to our office ONLY three times.
    He may have visited your offices at other times. You just may not have seen him.
    2. That I met him ONLY three times.
    You may have met him outside the office.
    3. Neither.


    The implication is that you met him three times on the same day. For example:

    Max: Sam, I'd like you to meet Peter.
    Sam: Nice to meet you, Peter.
    (5 minutes later)
    Pat: Sam, I'd like to introduce you to Peter.
    Sam: Hi, Peter. We've met.
    (10 minutes later)
    Sue: Sam, this is Peter.
    Sam: Yes, I know. Hi, Peter. You sure do get around.


    azz, what's the meaning you're after? What do you want to express?


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    #5

    Re: times, when

    Hello Soup,

    1. I met him three times, when he came to our office.

    Can't we interpret the red part as a *non-restrictive* apposed (three times, when...) nominal clause that functions as an adverb? In this case I feel the need for the use of comma.


    2. I met him three times when he came to our office.

    That 'came', it is the simple past tense form of 'come'. Can't it be taken as a form that is used to describe a habit which stopped in the past.

    Thanks for your time.

    EDIT: I added the word *non-restrictive*
    Last edited by svartnik; 15-Jun-2009 at 16:00.

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    #6

    Re: times, when

    Hello svartnik

    The problem is not the comma. It's optional, actually, and could even be a dash or three dots (...) .

    The rule, as you know, is add a comma after an adverbial that begins a sentence and omit it--or leave it in--when the adverbial ends a sentence:

    • I met him 3 times(,) when he came to our office.
    • When he came to our office , I met him three times.

    With or without the comma, the semantics stay the same because the main verb met is semantically tied to its adverbial modifier when he came to our office.

    The difference between the above sentences is one of focus, or topic. In the first one, the event 'I met' is in focus, whereas in the second one, the adverbial 'when he came' is in focus. The comma is superfluous, though, because the semantics of the adverbial makes it so.


    In answer to your second question, simple past 'came' is what it is: a past tense verb. Nothing more, nothing less. That it could be used to describe a habit which stopped in the past; i.e., when he would come to our office is somewhat of a stretch, I feel, since it would require additional semantics, notably habitual would.

    Maybe I have misunderstood your question. My apologies if that is the case.


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    #7

    Re: times, when

    That is okay, Soup. Thanks.

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    #8

    Re: times, when

    Quote Originally Posted by svartnik View Post
    That is okay, Soup. Thanks.
    You're most welcome.

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