his wife of 32 years

LQZ

Senior Member
Mandarin
He and his wife of 32 years went to Japan last month.
:DGuys, I am trying to ask a question about "of 32 of years". If I don't have any supporting context, can I think "his wife of 32 years" has two meanings?

1 He and his wife have gotten married for 32 years.
2 His wife is 32 years old.

I am confused about this expression and looking forward to your help.


LQZ
 
  • Meyer Wolfsheim

    Senior Member
    English
    :DGuys, I am trying to ask a question about "of 32 of years". If I don't have any supporting context, can I think "his wife of 32 years" has two meanings?

    1 He and his wife have gotten married for 32 years.:cross: His wife and he have been married for 32 years. You cannot use "get" because this would imply every year they married each other again every year or someone different each instance, which has no logic (at least here it doesn't). This sentence which I gave you means that both his wife and he were first married 32 years ago and are still married, the purpose of the present perfect.
    2 His wife is 32 years old.:tick:This is correct; this means that his wife has been alive for 32 years. This of course wouldn't make sense if it were part of your previous sentence because you can't get married right when you are born (at least here you can't).

    I am confused about this expression and looking forward to your help.


    LQZ
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    :DGuys, I am trying to ask a question about "of 32 of years". If I don't have any supporting context, can I think "his wife of 32 years" has two meanings?

    1 He and his wife have gotten married for 32 years.
    2 His wife is 32 years old.

    I am confused about this expression and looking forward to your help.
    LQZ
    You are correct: without any supporting context, it is possible that this may have both meanings.

    However, it would be much more common for this phrase to have the first meaning you mentioned:the wife he has had for 32 years; the woman to whom he has been married for 32 years.
     

    Joca

    Senior Member
    Brazilian Portuguese
    You are correct: without any supporting context, it is possible that this may have both meanings.

    However, it would be much more common for this phrase to have the first meaning you mentioned:the wife he has had for 32 years; the woman to whom he has been married for 32 years.
    I endorse this view.

    In terms of Logic, I think that would be her age only if we already knew how old he was (why mention her age and not her husband's as well?) and especially if he was an old man with a very young wife.
     

    Wayland

    Banned
    English.
    In all the varieties of English that I have ever heard the phrase "his wife of 32 years" would always be understood to mean "married to for 32 years".
    It would never be mistaken as a declaration of her age.


    I realise that pedagogues (I use the term non-pejoratively) might be trying to draw the student, but in this case I think this is obfuscating the issue.
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    In all the varieties of English that I have ever heard the phrase "his wife of 32 years" would always be understood to mean "married to for 32 years".
    It would never be mistaken as a declaration of her age.


    I realise that pedagogues (I use the term non-pejoratively) might be trying to draw the student, but in this case I think this is obfuscating the issue.
    I agree with Wayland.
    This is a very familiar construction and there is no ambiguity.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    I agree with Wayland and panjandrum: it always refers to how long they've been married.

    It is just possible for 'of 32 years' to refer to age: in an older novel, you might meet 'a young woman of 32 years', but it sounds very old-fashioned and is highly unnatural in present-day English.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top