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it was Ken, not Steve

Posted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:34 am
by navi
Which is correct:

1) It was Ken, not Steve, talking to Jane on the phone.
2) It was Ken, not Steve talking to Jane on the phone.

It seems to me that '1' is fine and means the one talking to Jane on the phone was Ken, not Steve.

The second one is strange. Maybe it would work in a context like this:

Who kicked me under the table? It was Steve wasn't it?
No. It was Ken, not Steve talking to Jane on the phone.

Meaning:
No. It was Ken, not Steve as he was talking to Jane on the phone.

It is still a strange thing to say, but maybe it is grammatical?!

Gratefully,
Navi

Re: it was Ken, not Steve

Posted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 4:24 pm
by Phil White
For the intended meaning, you need the comma, as you rightly surmise.

And, as you surmise, it may be possible to build an obscure scenario in which the version without the comma may just about work.