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Tara2
Posted: Friday, February 14, 2020 3:28:27 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 11/8/2017
Posts: 2,316
Neurons: 8,828
1-He was the only man to get wounded or call for help.

Does this mean:
a-He got wounded or called for help and was the only man who did one of these two things.
or:
b-He was the only man to get wounded and the only man to call for help.

2-He was the first man to get wounded or call for help.

Does this mean:
a-He got wounded or called for help and was the first man who did one of these two things.
or:
b-He was the first man to get wounded and the first man to call for help.
thar
Posted: Friday, February 14, 2020 4:01:44 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 22,429
Neurons: 90,883
Did you see this somewhere? Because it is a very unnatural thing to say.

It combines what happened to him (he was wounded) and what he did (he called for help)

I can't imagine saying this in that format.

Tara2
Posted: Friday, February 14, 2020 4:08:39 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 11/8/2017
Posts: 2,316
Neurons: 8,828
thar wrote:
Did you see this somewhere? Because it is a very unnatural thing to say.

It combines what happened to him (he was wounded) and what he did (he called for help)

I can't imagine saying this in that format.


Many thanks thar.
Sorry this question is from here. They said it means (b).
https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/either-or-again.483597/
thar
Posted: Friday, February 14, 2020 4:38:14 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 22,429
Neurons: 90,883
I agree that it means b - but the point is not what you understand from it, but whether people would actually say that. That seems more useful information for a learner!

To me, I would naturally 'reset' a sentence earlier (ie use less as common to both parts) if the two parts don't match.

He was the only man to be wounded or to call for help.

because the two verbs, the passive 'to be wounded' and the active 'to call for help' are not parallel. To me they don't naturally share a common 'to'.

But the overall grammar point
the only _ to _or _

means the only one that did either.

n{A U B} = 1




Tara2
Posted: Friday, February 14, 2020 5:48:09 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 11/8/2017
Posts: 2,316
Neurons: 8,828
thar wrote:
I agree that it means b - but the point is not what you understand from it, but whether people would actually say that. That seems more useful information for a learner!

To me, I would naturally 'reset' a sentence earlier (ie use less as common to both parts) if the two parts don't match.

He was the only man to be wounded or to call for help.

because the two verbs, the passive 'to be wounded' and the active 'to call for help' are not parallel. To me they don't naturally share a common 'to'.

But the overall grammar point
the only _ to _or _

means the only one that did either.

n{A U B} = 1





Many thanks thar for the excellent explanation!
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Friday, February 14, 2020 8:56:23 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 34,213
Neurons: 224,906
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
I'm too late to answer, but I have an idea why it may be written that way.

It sounds like some sort of endurance-race.
Competitors fail if they are injured and someone has to go in and rescue them.
They can also fail if they give up and call for rescue.

He was the only man to get wounded or call for help.

He was the only one who failed.
Tara2
Posted: Saturday, February 15, 2020 4:50:34 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 11/8/2017
Posts: 2,316
Neurons: 8,828
Drag0nspeaker wrote:
I'm too late to answer, but I have an idea why it may be written that way.

It sounds like some sort of endurance-race.
Competitors fail if they are injured and someone has to go in and rescue them.
They can also fail if they give up and call for rescue.

He was the only man to get wounded or call for help.

He was the only one who failed.

Many thanks Drago for your help!
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