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his big blue motorcycle

Posted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:04 am
by navi
1) He was riding his big blue motorcycle and I was riding mine.
2) He was riding his blue motorcycle and I was riding mine.
3) He was riding his big blue motorcycle and I was riding my small one.


Can we tell if my motorcycle was blue or not?
In which cases was it blue?

Gratefully,
Navi.

Re: his big blue motorcycle

Posted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 1:27 pm
by Erik_Kowal
The wording of 1) and 2) strongly suggests that my motorbike is blue (the unqualified 'mine' implies similarity), but with 3) you can't tell. This is because contrasting the size of my bike with that of his implies that my bike's other attributes may also be different.

Re: his big blue motorcycle

Posted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:14 pm
by Phil White
In none of the cases is it entirely clear. Erik is correct to say "strongly suggests", but it is no more than that. In speech, the intonation of "small" could possibly give a clue. Heavily stressing the word "small" in 3) would suggest that my bike was also blue, but again, only suggest.