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"Your recent photo" is wrong?? Options
robjen
Posted: Sunday, June 6, 2021 5:45:32 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/17/2015
Posts: 818
Neurons: 4,538
(1) I received his recent photo yestersday. (my sentence)

My non-native English speaking friends think "his recent photo" sounds awkward.

(2) I received a recent photo of him. (their revision)

What's wrong with "his recent photo"? Thanks.

Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Sunday, June 6, 2021 6:21:42 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 35,277
Neurons: 241,541
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
There is nothing wrong with it grammatically.
However, it does imply that there is only one recent photo of him (and one or many old photos).

It's like a definite article.

His recent photo = THE photo of him taken recently.
One of his recent photos = A recent photo of him = A photo of him taken recently

thar
Posted: Sunday, June 6, 2021 6:23:23 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 24,421
Neurons: 98,922
These are two separate ideas.

His photo - a photo of him

And

A recent photo - a photo taken recently.


You can't combine them. Because 'his photo' is a very special usage of 'his' .


His recent travels. = travel he has done recently.

His recent illness =an illness he has had recently.

You can't use the special meaning of 'his photo' with 'his recent ____'.


You have to unpack it into two separate structures -
A photo of him
A recent photo of him = a photo of him taken recently.

Bathcoup
Posted: Monday, June 7, 2021 6:11:18 PM
Rank: Member

Joined: 2/24/2021
Posts: 115
Neurons: 1,935
His photo = a photo of him ----------- (1)

A recent photo = a photo taken recently ------------- (2)
============================

His photos = photos of him ------------(1a)

recent photos = photos taken recently ---------------(2a)

Replacing "photos" in (2a) with "photos of him", I get

recent photos of him = photos of him taken recently

Because recent photos are photos, according to (1a),

his recent photos = recent photos of him

his recent photo = a recent photo of him (singular)
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