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Which one is grammatically correct? Options
robjen
Posted: Sunday, July 16, 2017 11:51:18 PM
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(1) I want to buy a book for Mary's birthday related to her physics professor's newest research results.

(2) I want to buy a book related to the newest research results of Mary's physics professor for her birthday.

Which one is grammatically OK? Thanks a lot.
Shivanand
Posted: Monday, July 17, 2017 12:29:07 AM

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Hi robjen,

Though one may be tempted to agree with option#2, I feel that both the options are little ambiguous!

I advise reorganising the sentence: On Mary's birthday, I want to buy/gift her the book containing her professor's......

Cheers!

कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन। मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते संगोऽस्त्वकर्मणि॥
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Monday, July 17, 2017 1:40:12 AM

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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Hello robjen.

I understand Shivanand's objection.

However, I think that both would be understood without difficulty (The alternate/ambiguous meaning is so unlikely).

I would also be tempted to insert a comma after "professor" in the second.

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
sureshot
Posted: Monday, July 17, 2017 4:14:28 AM
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Joined: 9/16/2015
Posts: 1,750
Neurons: 324,309
robjen wrote:
(1) I want to buy a book for Mary's birthday related to her physics professor's newest research results.

(2) I want to buy a book related to the newest research results of Mary's physics professor for her birthday.

Which one is grammatically OK? Thanks a lot.

______________________

In my view, the phrase/clause should be placed as close as possible to the word it modifies/describes. Sentence 1 does not meet this requirement and so it is avoidable. The expression "related to her physics professor's newest research results" relates to "book". Therefore, it should be shifted, just as has been done in Sentence 2. Sentence 2 is correct but it can be improved. The phrase "for her birthday" is not well connected. Shifting this phrase to the beginning of the sentence would indeed make the sentence more easily understandable. "For her birthday" contains a pronoun. Shivanand has correctly replaced the pronoun with the noun. However, I would prefer to retain the preposition "for" and not replace it with "on".
Romany
Posted: Monday, July 17, 2017 6:52:05 AM
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Joined: 6/14/2009
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Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom

Drago's right they'd be understood.

But even so No.2 is still a bit of a mess to the ear: and I simply can't help exclaiming silently "Wow. Lucky Mary! Her Physics lecturer wrote a book of research about her birthday!"

The suggestion of making Mary's Birthday the beginning of the sentence irons things out better:
"For Mary's birthday I want to buy her the new book related to her physics lecturer's research." ('the new' book is the same as 'the newest book').

Tho' in speech we'd probably cut it down even further and say "For her birthday, I want to get Mary the new book her Physics lecturer has written."
Camber
Posted: Monday, July 17, 2017 8:24:06 AM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 7/17/2017
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Neurons: 73
Shouldn't it be: the latest results?
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