behind enemy lines

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behind enemy lines

Post by navi » Wed Dec 26, 2018 9:57 am

1) They have two men injured behind enemy lines.
2) They have two men injured, behind enemy lines.
3) They have two men injured who are behind enemy lines.

Do these mean that the two men got injured when they were behind enemy lines or all we can say is that they are injured now and they are behind enemy lines.

It seems clear that in '3' the latter is the case, but what about '1' and '2'?


Re: behind enemy lines

Post by Phil White » Sat Dec 29, 2018 6:41 pm

The construction used in the first part of the sentences ("They have two men injured") seems to suggest the reading that the men are still behind enemy lines in all 3 cases. In other words, if the "injured" is clearly associated with "behind enemy lines, as in "They have two men who were injured behind enemy lines", any ambiguity is resolved, and this would be a normal way of expressing this meaning. The fact that this normal and clear construction was not used suggests, as I said, the reading that the men are still behind enemy lines.
Signature: Phil White
Non sum felix lepus

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