RE: [OT] Spanish grammar (was Re: [q] Typesetting rules in Spanis h)

From: Marco Cimarosti (
Date: Mon Sep 09 2002 - 06:08:45 EDT

Martin Kochanski wrote:
> To expand: "su" can mean "his" "her" "their" as well as the
> polite "your". In this context, "el marino, el hermano de su
> madre" risks being felt as a complete phrase in itself (the
> sailor, the brother of his mother), so you need "de usted" to
> anchor it firmly to the second person. [...]

But, if the problem was just avoiding the ambiguity, he could simply have
dropped the ambiguous pronoun: "el hermano de *la* madre de usted". So, I
guess that the double possessive "su" + "de usted" is for emphasis.

Alternatively, it mimics a conversational situation: he says his sentence,
realizes it is ambiguous, and adds in a hurry an ungrammatical
specification. But this would probably have been marked by punctuation: "el
hermano de su madre... ˇde usted!... el que despareció."

BTW, I wonder, isn't all this sliiiiiiiiiiiightly off topic? :-)

_ Marco

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Mon Sep 09 2002 - 06:51:29 EDT