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family relationship

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When i hear the word UNCLE i can not make sure who is ment by this word, is he father's broter or mother's brother; and the same goes for the words "aunt", grand father etc. would you please tell me how can we find the deffrence between them. thank you for your help


Key Member
Feb 25, 2006
Member Type
English Teacher
In English, there is no difference. Your uncle could be your father's brother, your mother's brother, or even your father's sister's husband or your mother's sister's husband. If you really need to make the meaning clear, you could say "my uncle on my father's side" or "...mother's side", or "my father's brother-in-law" or "my mother's brother-in-law", although those last two are also unclear.

For grandparents, it's slightly easier. Your father's father is your paternal grandfather, and your mother's father is your maternal grandmother. But normally we don't consider the difference to be very important, so we just say "grandfather" or "grandmother".
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