Author Topic: that I had bought  (Read 700 times)

Offline azz

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that I had bought
« on: January 10, 2022, 06:48:22 am »
a. He tore off the page of the book on which I had written my name.
I'd assume that I had written my name on the page. Is that correct


b. He tore off the first page of the book, on which I had written my name.

I think this sentence is ambiguous. One can't tell if I had written my name on the page or on the book. Is that correct?

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c. He was petting that kitten of the cat that I had bought.

I think this would most likely mean I had bought the cat, but there is a slight possibility that I had bought the kitten (if the cat had been mentioned before). Is that correct?

d. He was petting the kitten of the cat that I had bought.
I think this would most likely mean I had bought the cat, but there is a slight possibility that I had bought the kitten (if the cat had been mentioned before). Is that correct?


We have 'of-possessives' in all cases and then a noun is being modified. The rule seems to be that the noun that is closest to the modifying phrase is the one that is being modified. I don't think the 'rule' (if indeed there is such a rule) dosen't apply in all cases. Hence the question. I think in some cases there might be ambiguity.

Many thanks.

Offline admin

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Re: that I had bought
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2022, 02:17:15 pm »
a. He tore off the page of the book on which I had written my name.
I'd assume that I had written my name on the page. Is that correct
Yes indeed


b. He tore off the first page of the book, on which I had written my name.
I think this sentence is ambiguous. One can't tell if I had written my name on the page or on the book. Is that correct?
More likely the book. And you don't need the comma


c. He was petting that kitten of the cat that I had bought.
I think this would most likely mean I had bought the cat, but there is a slight possibility that I had bought the kitten (if the cat had been mentioned before). Is that correct?
Most likely that it is the cat that you had bought.
It needs slight editing:  He was petting a/the kitten of the cat that I had bought.


d. He was petting the kitten of the cat that I had bought.
I think this would most likely mean I had bought the cat, but there is a slight possibility that I had bought the kitten (if the cat had been mentioned before). Is that correct?
see above
Best wishes,

Duncan

Offline admin

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Re: that I had bought
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2022, 04:30:57 pm »
BTW - you don't need "that" in the last two - it is optional.
Best wishes,

Duncan