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navi tasan

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"He was her second brother who left the country."

Doesn't this mean that she had another brother who had left the country before this second one did? In all, she has two brothers who have left the country and maybe one or two or more who haven't.
 

Casiopea

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navi tasan said:
"He was her second brother who left the country."

Doesn't this mean that she had another brother who had left the country before this second one did? In all, she has two brothers who have left the country and maybe one or two or more who haven't.

He was the second brother to leave the country.

All the best,
 

navi tasan

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Thanks. Your sentence is indeed much better, but I wonder if mine is downright wrong (I like that ...right wrong).
What do you think of:
2-This is his second book which tries to show that A is B. Like the first one, it fails.

(This question sort of follows the one I had psoted yesterday.)
 

MikeNewYork

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navi tasan said:
Thanks. Your sentence is indeed much better, but I wonder if mine is downright wrong (I like that ...right wrong).
What do you think of:
2-This is his second book which tries to show that A is B. Like the first one, it fails.

(This question sort of follows the one I had psoted yesterday.)

In my opinion, your original sentence is acceptable, though Cas's restatement is much better.

The second question gets us into a bit of the AE/BE divide. In AE, we almost always confine "which" to nonrestrictive clauses, set off by commas. If, however, we operate under BE rules, your sentence implies that he has written a previous book on the same subject. If you add a comma after "book", that implication is no longer present. :wink:
 

navi tasan

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Thanks Mike.
It's good to know that you still speak to me!!
What you say about the difference between AE and BE is interesting. As far as I am concerned of-course, both of them are fine, but I'd like to know the differences. Do you know a book about this? If not, I think you guys can easily find all the differences using the forum and then put out a book about them.
 

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navi tasan said:
Thanks Mike.
It's good to know that you still speak to me!!
What you say about the difference between AE and BE is interesting. As far as I am concerned of-course, both of them are fine, but I'd like to know the differences. Do you know a book about this? If not, I think you guys can easily find all the differences using the forum and then put out a book about them.

There are some web sites that deal with AE/BE differences, but they are very incomplete. TDOL and I have discussed this issue many times. We keep uncovering more and more differences. Perhaps we should start to catalogue these differences. :wink:
 

navi tasan

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I think you should.

Once upon a time, somebody (maybe it was you, or Red5 or maybe it wasn't even here, I don't know) told me about the difference between:
1- "I rather you not take the car"
and
2-"I rather you didn't take the car".
This was I think before I started stocking up the replies on my computer. I must have written it somewhere. I think 2 is British but 1 isn't. Americans use both, but for them they don't mean exactly the same. Again, if I remember correctly, 2 implies that you do take the car and 1 implies that it is the first time you are asking me to let you take it. (I think you have more choice in AE here. I do it the British way, but one day I might change the way I do it).


The other major difference I know of is the way the Americans sometimes use the simple past instead of the present perfect. To tell you the truth, here I tend to side with the British because I find their way of doing things logical. Using the SP instead of the PP impoverishes (I know, it is that word again, the one linguists don't like, but just this once) the language.

AE-Did you see Mary Poppins.
BE-Have you seen Mary Poppins.

When I hear the first one I get the impression that it was on TV last night or something.
But I know that the Americans do use the present perfect tense. I just don't know when they replace it with the simple past. I myself do it the British way. I always have and have never thought to do otherwise.

In any case, this is all I know about the differences between AE and BE, (and what I think). I guess you already knew all this, but I thought I might at least try to LOOK helpful!!
 

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navi tasan said:
Thanks. Your sentence is indeed much better, but I wonder if mine is downright wrong (I like that ...right wrong).
What do you think of:
2-This is his second book which tries to show that A is B. Like the first one, it fails.

(This question sort of follows the one I had psoted yesterday.)

Let's look at the ungrammaticallity of the first example sentence. There're three points I'd like to show you:

1. He is her second brother who left the country. :(

The first problem has to do with referencing. The relative pronoun "who" refers to the possessive noun phrase "her second brother", which in turn refers to the pronoun "He". Here we have a pronoun (who) connected to a noun phrase (her second brother), connected to a pronoun (He). To correct the structure, change "He" to "It", a pronoun that refers to a phrase:

1b. It is her second brother who left the country. :D

Second, notice the word 'second'. It's a specific description of the brother. In such cases, use 'that' or 'which' as Mike suggests.

1c. It is her second brother that left the country.
1d. It is her second brother which left the country. (Restrictive)
1e. It is her second brother, which left the country. (Non-Restrictive)

Third, speakers have been known to use 'who' instead of 'that' or 'which'. The reason being, the distinction between specificity and non-specificity is slowly fading.

1f. It is her second brother who left the country. :)

In this case, the speaker could be viewing the pronoun 'who' as referring only to the noun 'brother',

1f. It is her (second) brother who left the country.

Next, as for example sentence 2.,

2. This is his second book which tries to show that A is B.

In terms of referencing, it's OK. The demonstrative pronoun "This" is referential with the phrase "his second book" and "which". In terms of specificity, though, there's the word 'second' again, so we need 'that',

2b. This is his second book that tries to show that A is B.

However, 2b. is still a bit awkaward. The reason being, "the" more specific "the" better,

2c. This is the second book (of his) that tries to show that A is B. :D

The determiner "the" is specific to the word "second", whereas the possessive pronoun "her", as in 1c. below, is specific to the noun "brother".

1c. It is her second brother that left the country.

That is, in terms of possession, "the second brother" is less specific that "her second brother".

Hope that helps out some.

All the best,
 

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Casiopea said:
Let's look at the ungrammaticallity of the first example sentence. There're three points I'd like to show you:

1. He is her second brother who left the country. :(

The first problem has to do with referencing. The relative pronoun "who" refers to the possessive noun phrase "her second brother", which in turn refers to the pronoun "He". Here we have a pronoun (who) connected to a noun phrase (her second brother), connected to a pronoun (He). To correct the structure, change "He" to "It", a pronoun that refers to a phrase:

I have to disagree with your statement about grammaticality. The sentence is a bit clumsy as it stands, but not ungrammatical, IMO.

The sentence is not unclear from the standpoint of the antecedent for "who". The sentence has a linking verb which establishes a parity between "he" and "brother". There is no difference in structure from:

John is the new plumber who fixed our sink.
He is the new plumber who fixed our sink.

Changing "he" to "it" changes the sentence's meaning.

"It is her second brother who left the country" reduces the number of brother who left the country to one.

"He is her second brother who left the country" suggests that another brother left the country earlier.

As I said, I prefer your use of the infinitive over the relative clause, but the latter form conforms to grammar rules.
 

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He is her brother who left the country. Ungrammatical (Semantics)

I was looking at the referencing between the Subject pronoun, the PossP, and the relative.

All the best,
 

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Casiopea said:
He is her brother who left the country. Ungrammatical (Semantics)

I was looking at the referencing between the Subject pronoun, the PossP, and the relative.

All the best,

I understand, but the relative clause obeys the rules.

He = her brother
her brother = the one who left the country

thus:

He = the one who left the country.

A: Who is that?
B: That's her brother.
A: But I thought her brother left the country.
B: He is her brother who left the country. He is back for a visit.
 

navi tasan

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Hi Casiopea,
Thanks for your replies.

I think I have managed once more to create confusion. If only I could get paid for producing confusion!

This is the way I see things:

1-John is her brother. He graduated from Harvard.=John is her brother, who graduated from Harvard. (who clause, non-restrictive)

2-John is that brother of hers who graduated from Harvard, not the one who graduated from Yale.=John is her brother who graduated from Harvard not ... (who clause, restrictive)

3-Her brother graduated from Harvard, not her cousin.=It was her brother who (that) graduated from Harvard, not her cousin. (I think they call these cleft sentences)

4-Who was that on the phone?
It was her brother, the one that graduated from Harvard.=It was her brother who ("that" would not be wrong but would be bad) graduated from Harvard.

5-Who was that on the phone?
It was her brother. You know, he graduated from Harvard.=It was her brother, who ("that" would not be wrong but would be bad) graduated from Harvard.

Now I think these days native speakers sometimes use the restrictive clause instead of the non-restrictive clause:
A-His brother who is a doctor called us last night.
instead of:
B-His brother, who is a doctor, called us last night.

As far as I have understood, strictly speaking, A implies that she has more than one brother.

I think it is even more widespread with the "'s" possessive:
C-"Jane's brother who was there told us the story."

Can one really conclude from that sentence that she has more than one brother?
I am not sure.

In any case, these are just my opinions, and I am not a native speaker, so don't hesitate to correct me. I think I have created some confusion and I thought I might try to clear things up.
 

Casiopea

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MikeNewYork said:
Casiopea said:
He is her brother who left the country. Ungrammatical (Semantics)

I was looking at the referencing between the Subject pronoun, the PossP, and the relative.

All the best,

I understand, but the relative clause obeys the rules.

He = her brother
her brother = the one who left the country

thus:

He = the one who left the country.

A: Who is that?
B: That's her brother.
A: But I thought her brother left the country.
B: He is her brother who left the country. He is back for a visit.

I don't disagree. Actually, I'm trying very hard to grasp it. I really want to see it but I can't seem to make it out. It's tickling my cognitive bone something awful. :oops: Hep-me.

He is her brother who left the country. :( Possp
He, her brother, left the country. :D Pronoun
He is the guy who left the country. :D Noun
Her brother who left the country last year.... :( Possp
Her brother, who by the way left the country last year.... :D Possp
He is the brother that/who left the country.... :D Specific
He is the brother of hers that/who left the country.... :) Specific
 

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Casiopea said:
I don't disagree. Actually, I'm trying very hard to grasp it. I really want to see it but I can't seem to make it out. It's tickling my cognitive bone something awful. :oops: Hep-me.

He is her brother who left the country. :( Possp
He, her brother, left the country. :D Pronoun
He is the guy who left the country. :D Noun
Her brother who left the country last year.... :( Possp
Her brother, who by the way left the country last year.... :D Possp
He is the brother that/who left the country.... :D Specific
He is the brother of hers that/who left the country.... :) Specific

And I don't disagree that the construction is a bit clumsy. I just can't get it to be ungrammatical. The presence of a possessive adjective should not preclude the presence of a defining relative clause; at least I know of no such rule.

Perhaps the bothersome part is that the possessive pronoun seems to identify the noun and the defining clause seems to define it again.

For example:

It is her brother who left the country.

With emphasis on "her", it sounds very natural.

This is her brother who left the country.

<separates this one of her brothers from another of her brothers>

This is her brother, who left the country.

<now there may be only one brother>

He is her brother who left the country.

<this does not seem as natural, but I can't really dispute the grammar>

I am as stuck on this one as you are. :cry:
 

Casiopea

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MikeNewYork said:
The presence of a possessive adjective should not preclude the presence of a defining relative clause; at least I know of no such rule.

Perhaps the bothersome part is that the possessive pronoun seems to identify the noun and the defining clause seems to define it again.

For example:

1. It is her brother who left the country.
2. This is her brother who left the country.
3. He is her brother who left the country.

Thanx. :) I think I see it now. :D

'He' equates to the entire [closed] phrase 'her brother who left',

He is her brother who left.

That is, He = her brother who left,

Her brother who left is he. (That guy over there).

I was looking at something different: "He, her brother, is the one who left", wherein 'who' refers to 'the one', which refers to 'He'; 'her brother' modifies 'He'.

Thanx. 8)
 
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