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Question
Dear Ted:

Consider the sentence below:

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has warned his opponents that tomorrow's afternoon match will be a battle.

Would it mean that Manchester United has/have just one defender If I rewrote the sentence in the following way?

The Manchester United defender, Rio Ferdinand, has warned his opponents that tomorrow's afternoon match will be a battle.

As always, many, many thanks for your kind help.

Paolo

P.S. Is the question "Would it mean that Manchester United has/have just one defender If I rewrote the sentence in the following way?" correctly written? Also, would you please give me some alternatives to this question?

Answer
Dear Paolo:

Consider the sentence below:

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has warned his opponents that
tomorrow's afternoon match will be a battle.

Would it mean that Manchester United has/have just one defender If I rewrote the
sentence in the following way?

The Manchester United defender, Rio Ferdinand, has warned his opponents that
tomorrow's afternoon match will be a battle.

*** Using "THE" to begin the sentence suggests that the team has just one defender.  You are giving his name [within commas] as additional, but not required information.

*** If you are certain that the team has MORE THAN ONE DEFENDER, you would begin your sentence with "A Manchester United defender, Rio Ferdinand, has warned . . . . "  By beginning the sentence with "THE Manchester United . . . .," you are suggesting that there is more than one defender on the team.  A person like you, knowledgeable about football, would not be confused.  However, most people in the United States have no idea how many defenders a team has.  To be VERY CLEAR, you would start with "ONE OF MANCHESTER UNITED'S DEFENDERS, Rio Ferdinand, has warned . . . .   By starting the sentence with "One of," you are telling the reader that there is more than one defender.

As always, many, many thanks for your kind help.

Paolo

P.S. Is the question "Would it mean that Manchester United has/have just one
defender If I rewrote the sentence in the following way?" correctly written?
Also, would you please give me some alternatives to this question?

*** You need to put a comma after "defender" and then continue the sentence with a small "i" on "if."  The rest of the sentence is correct.

EXAMPLE:  Have I correctly written the following sentence:  [And then you type your sentence.]

Is this sentence correctly written:  [And then you type your sentence.]

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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