a needle <made from the bone of a horse>

akimura

Senior Member
Japanese
Hi,

I would appreciate if you would help me list all the problems, if any, with the following sentence.
A. She is using a needle made from the bone of a horse.


Probably it would be much simpler to say,

B. She is using a horse bone needle.

However, this sentence is for a grammar exercise where the theme is understanding the past participle used as a modifier. Even so, at least, I think "of" should be used instead of "from" like the following.

C. She is using a needle made of the bone of a horse.

What I'm still not toally confident about is the necessity of "the". Please correct me if I am wrong, but isn't it the case that "the bone of a horse" means the entire bone of a horse? If I am correct, shouldn't the sentence be without "the" like the following?

D. She is using a needle made of bone of a horse.

or

E. She is using a needle made of horse bone.
 
  • Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I don't think there is anything wrong with (A).

    (B) would be correct if we were generally familiar with something called a "horse bone needle." That structure works in, for example, "she is riding a carbon fiber bicycle." However, "horse bone needle" is not a familiar concept to most people in the 21st century, so I would not say that.

    (C): the choice between "of" and "from" is a question of style. I prefer "from," but "of" is also correct.

    (D) would be correct if we thought of "bone" as the material in general. Here, however, I think the needle is probably made from one specific bone. Therefore, "the" (as in (A)) is correct.

    (E) would also be correct if we thought of "bone" as the material in general. I prefer this version to (D).
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    As you suggest, the sentence could be phrased in several ways.


    B. She is using a horse bone needle. A horse-bone needle. You need a hyphen there, as in "a camel-hair coat".
    C. She is using a needle made of the bone of a horse. You can remove any hint of ambiguity by saying "made from the bone of a horse".
    D. She is using a needle made of bone of a horse. No. There is no material called "bone of horse".
    E. She is using a needle made of horse bone. If I used that one I would hyphenate "horse-bone", but I wouldn't use it.
     
    Last edited:

    akimura

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thank you, Egmont and velisarius. I understand that sentence (A) is a little ambiguous but correct enough to make sense.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I don't seen any ambiguity in version A, which seems fine to me too.
    What do you think it might mean?
     
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