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to think this Telegraph grammar test is wrong?

(56 Posts)
Ogooglebar Tue 16-Apr-13 11:57:06

The question is 'can you tell from this sentence what sex Evelyn is?'

"I should like to introduce you to my sister Amanda, who lives in New York, to my brother Mark who doesn't, and to my only other sibling, Evelyn."

I think you can't tell but the Telegraph thinks you can tell that Evelyn is male.

How???

Here's a link to the test if anyone's interested.

Corygal Tue 16-Apr-13 11:59:58

Well, from the etiquette point of view re introductions you introduce people in order of sex (ladeeze first) then age (coffindodgers first), so one might hazard a guess that Evelyn would be the youngest brother.

But grammar ain't manners. And from a parsing pov, no.

squeakytoy Tue 16-Apr-13 12:00:54

I dont think you can tell either... I also failed that test abysmally!

kim147 Tue 16-Apr-13 12:01:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ogooglebar Tue 16-Apr-13 12:01:49

coffindodgers grin

Ogooglebar Tue 16-Apr-13 12:02:55

I got 67% on the test so can't be that bad... Maybe it's something to do with commas?

MummyCoolski Tue 16-Apr-13 12:03:23

There is an explanation in a link on your link (iyswim), but it isn't up to much! Grammar is there to aid understanding. If you rely on such obscure technicalities to make a point then you are being a show-off and not a good communicator.

Ogooglebar Tue 16-Apr-13 12:04:13

I've just found their explanation for the answer, but still don't understand:

11. “I should like to introduce you to my sister Amanda, who lives in New York, to my brother Mark who doesn't, and to my only other sibling, Evelyn."
The absence of a comma before "who doesn't" makes that clause part of the definition of Mark, implying that there are other brothers. Try reading the sentence with the word "Mark" omitted.

StephaniePowers Tue 16-Apr-13 12:04:15

I think you can't, at a push you can say that if Evelyn were female, the word sibling wouldn't be used.

However
THAT ISN'T GRAMMAR it's vocabulary
Twats

Ogooglebar Tue 16-Apr-13 12:04:50

x-post Mummy, I hadn't scrolled down far enough to see their explanations!

quoteunquote Tue 16-Apr-13 12:05:15

The absence of a comma before "who doesn't" makes that clause part of the definition of Mark, implying that there are other brothers. Try reading the sentence with the word "Mark" omitted

their explanation.

Ogooglebar Tue 16-Apr-13 12:05:40

Right, I conclude that it's a stupid question.

Ogooglebar Tue 16-Apr-13 12:06:42

OH! Ok I understand their explanation now. But it's still shit. No one would say 'my only other sibling' in that context.

StephaniePowers Tue 16-Apr-13 12:07:00

No
That is completely half-arsed
I maintain they are twats

Corygal Tue 16-Apr-13 12:07:05

The Telegraph explains it thus:

The absence of a comma before "who doesn't" makes that clause part of the definition of Mark, implying that there are other brothers. Try reading the sentence with the word "Mark" omitted.

But I don't think it makes sense. Sibling is the nearest descriptor for Evelyn - not brother.

Ogooglebar Tue 16-Apr-13 12:08:05

AND if you said that to someone they wouldn't be able to tell where you were putting the commas grin

kim147 Tue 16-Apr-13 12:09:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ogooglebar Tue 16-Apr-13 12:09:55

Actually I'd have punched that person in the face after 'I should'.

Banderchang Tue 16-Apr-13 12:10:14

It's to do with defining and non-defining relative clauses. The relative clause is the bit that starts with a relative pronoun (e.g. who). It's easier if you compare 2 identical sentences:

1) My sister, who is a vet, is 35.

2) My sister who is a vet is 35.

In (1) the relative clause is non-defining and just provides extra information about the sister. We assume the speaker has just one sister and that she is 35. She also happens to be a vet.

In (2), the relative clause works to define the sister in question. It has no commas because it is a defining part of the sentence. We assume that the speaker has more than one sister and that they are defined by being a vet.

Does that help (probably not!)?

AlbertaCampion Tue 16-Apr-13 12:11:05

I would very much like the Telegraph test - would explain my somewhat lacklustre score. blush

Iggi101 Tue 16-Apr-13 12:11:16

I agree with Corrygal. Doesn't the inclusion of 'sibling' override the 'brother' bit?

Ogooglebar Tue 16-Apr-13 12:11:36

Maybe Evelyn self-identifies as neither male nor female and that's why (s)he's a sibling rather than a brother or sister.

AlbertaCampion Tue 16-Apr-13 12:11:37

*to be wrong.

God, no wonder I scored badly - I can't even put a bloomin' sentence together today.

Ogooglebar Tue 16-Apr-13 12:12:36

Banderchang that's a good explanation.

Ogooglebar Tue 16-Apr-13 12:13:14

In conclusion, IWBU but the quiz is also rubbish.

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