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John son of Edward

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Current Student
Joined: 27 Jan 2013
Posts: 78
Concentration: Marketing, Strategy
GMAT 1: 730 Q50 V38
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WE: Engineering (Telecommunications)
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21 Jun 2013, 17:34
John son of Edward,known for his driving skills,was killed in a road accident.

I want know what is the antecedent of HIS here (JOHN or EDWARD).

pls help...

BR//Surya
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Current Student
Joined: 04 Mar 2013
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Location: India
Concentration: Strategy, Operations
Schools: Booth '17 (M)
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Re: John son of Edward [#permalink]

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21 Jun 2013, 18:06
John son of Edward,known for his driving skills,was killed in a road accident.

This is missing a comma between "John" and "son".

the sentence should be like

John, son of Edward,known for his driving skills,was killed in a road accident.

This way the phrase son of Edward becomes the noun modifier and John being the main subject can be a proper antecedent for it
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Re: John son of Edward [#permalink]

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22 Jun 2013, 13:30
1
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Expert's post
This sentence is a bit of a mess (what is the source?). If we spoke in old English it would probably make perfect sense as written, but we don't use that construction, "son of Edward", today. Even with the addition of the comma - "John, son of Edward,..." - the structure is antiquated and awkward (maybe if you said "the son of Edward" it would be a bit better). In today's English, you would use the possessive "Edward's son" as the common structure: "Edward's son John..."

As for the antecedent, in the original sentence - "John son of Edward,known for his driving skills,was killed in a road accident." - we would first have to get comfortable with that old english style of "son of Edward" and then we could treat son of Edward as John's title and treat John as the antecedent. The original seems to imply that John (who happened to be Edward's son) was known for his driving skills but yet was still killed in a road accident.

If we insert the comma after John we may have clarified the pronoun issue but we actually change the meaning: "John, son of Edward, known for his driving skills, was killed in a road accident." In this sentence "son of Edward" is clearly modifying John but "known for his driving skills" is a noun modifier and by force a noun modifier will modify the noun it "touches" - in this case that noun is "Edward". The sentence now states that John was killed in a road accident but his father Edward was the person who was known for his driving skills. [I also don't like staking the modifiers "son of Edward" and "known for his driving skills" because it often confuses the meaning.]

If we use today's language and state the sentence this way - "Edward's son John, known for his driving skills, was killed in a road accident." - the sentence is unambiguous. We see that "his" refers to John (the subject), John is Edward's son, John was known for his driving skills, and John was killed in the road accident.

KW
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Re: John son of Edward   [#permalink] 22 Jun 2013, 13:30
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