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General Writing and Grammar Help/RE: The Manchester United defender, Rio Ferdinand, has warned.....

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Dear Ted:

I'm getting back to you with the same subject because I'm confused by your reply.

The original sentence was this:

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

You wrote the following:

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.

Then you wrote this:

By beginning the sentence with "THE Manchester United . . . .," you are suggesting that there is more than one defender on the team.

My question is:

Did you mean to write, "By beginning the sentence with 'THE Manchester United . . . .,' you are suggesting that there is JUST ONE defender on the team"?

If not, don't you think that your first statements contradicts the second one?

Again, many, many thanks for your kind help.

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

I am really confused with the variations on the "Manchester United" sentence.

I should have written that "ONE of THE Manchester United defenders" suggests that the team has MORE than one, but you are talking about Rio Ferdinand ONLY, because you use "one."

THE Manchester United defender, Rio Ferdinand, does not suggest how many defenders there are.  A person with no knowledge of football could not determine the number of defenders.  He MIGHT assume that there is just one.  If you use ONE OF THE, then there is no confusion.  He still does not know how many defenders there are, but he knows there is MORE THAN ONE.

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.

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

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