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yo4561
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Comparison Markers, All the Verbal pg 94

by yo4561 Sat Dec 12, 2020 9:57 pm

I am cruising through the wonderful All the Verbal Book :) That means more questions...

On page 94, the following examples are given:
1. John's hair, like that of his mother, is red and fiery.
2. John's hair, like his mother's, is red and fiery.

I realize that "that" in the 1st example and "'apostrophe s" in the 2nd example are fillers for "hair', but if I substitute hair in directly --->
1. John's hair, like hair of his mother, is red and fiery.
2. John's hair, like his mother hair, is red and fiery.

These sentences would be incorrect, no? What am I missing here? I may be taking this too literally by substituting hair in directly for the placeholders. To make them English, you would need to say in 1. "the hair", but then I am adding a "the" that the sentence does not have. For the second one, I would need to say "mother's hair", but then I am adding an extra "apostrophe s". Lastly, would the following be incorrect: John's hair, like THAT of his mother's, is red and fiery.--This seems less awkward to me.

Any further insights would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance :)
esledge
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Re: Comparison Markers, All the Verbal pg 94

by esledge Sun Dec 27, 2020 1:28 pm

It's OK to add an article ("a" or "an" or "the") as you are replacing a pronoun with a noun to test it out! It's not indicative of an antecedent problem; the only thing that matters is that "hair" or "the hair" is something that both John and his mother have.

In your questions about the apostrophes, one thing you might be missing is that 's and "of" are both ways to indicate possession: the hair of his mother = his mother's hair. Likewise, John's hair = the hair of John (though the latter sounds very old fashioned to me).

Also, in a parallel structure, if a possessive 's is used twice, it's understood to possess the same thing both places. This is why #2 on p.94 is right even without saying "hair" again after "mother's," and your rewrite is unnecessary.

yo4561 wrote:Lastly, would the following be incorrect: John's hair, like THAT of his mother's, is red and fiery.--This seems less awkward to me.

This example is wrong because "of" and "mother's" are redundant for showing possession of the hair. Now, if "his mother" is possessing something else, then it could be ok:

Correct: John's hair, like THAT of his mother's ancestors, is red and fiery.
Emily Sledge
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