in A, B and C/in A, B or C

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azz

Senior Member
armenian
a. He was the only folk singer to perform in the ABC opera house in Berlin, in the DEF opera house in Moscow or in the GHI opera house in Rome.
b. He was the only folk singer to perform in the ABC opera house in Berlin, in the DEF opera house in Moscow and in the GHI opera house in Rome.

The way I see it, in (a), he was the only one to perform in any of the three opera houses mentioned. No other folk singer performed in any of the three opera houses.
In (b), he was the only folk singer to perform in all three opera houses mentioned. There were other folk singers who had performed in one or two of those opera houses, but no one, other than him, had performed in all three.

Am I right here?

Many thanks.
 
  • Giorgio Spizzi

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Certainly with b) the speaker declares that the singer performed in all of the three opera houses.
    What I find a little strange is a) — not because of its grammatical structure but because I can't imagine a situation when I would need to pronounce it.
    Frankly, if I were confronted with, say, "He is the guy who visited Rome, Paris, or Berlin" I think I'd ask my interlocutor for some explanation. :)

    GS
     

    Vektus

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I suppose a) is not about "He is the guy who visited Rome, Paris, or Berlin"
    The sense is like "He is the guy who could visit A, B or C"

    As for azz, I understand these sentences in the same way.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    I agree with Azz'z interpretation. a) makes grammatical sense but it only made logical sense when I saw it was a folk-singer :)eek:) performing in an Opera House :D
     

    Giorgio Spizzi

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Hullo, Vektus. You say:

    I suppose a) is not about "He is the guy who visited Rome, Paris, or Berlin"
    The sense is like "He is the guy who could visit A, B or C"

    Frankly, I do not understand how the insertion of could can change the general structure and meaning of my — simplified — version of azz's a) sentence.
    Also, I have some difficulty understanding the meaning of "he was the only one to perform in any of the three opera houses mentioned."
    It seems to me that in order to make sense the above should contain each, one, and all.

    GS :)
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Also, I have some difficulty understanding the meaning of "he was the only one to perform in any of the three opera houses mentioned."
    The grammar is fine - it's the logic you have a concern with.
    If the assumption is that folk singers never perform in opera houses, especially the three named ones, then the appearance of any folk singer in even one of them is remarkable.

    Compare with: He was the only folk-singer to climb to the top of Everest, K-2 or Kanchenchunga.
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    Also, I have some difficulty understanding the meaning of "he was the only one to perform in any of the three opera houses mentioned."
    It seems to me that in order to make sense the above should contain each, one, and all.
    But the sentence as stated does not indicate that he performed in all three. If he were the only folk singer that had ever performed in the ABC Opera House, and no folk singer (including him) had ever performed in either of the other two, he would still be the only one who had ever performed in any of the three.
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    a. He was the only folk singer to perform in the ABC opera house in Berlin, in the DEF opera house in Moscow or in the GHI opera house in Rome.
    b. He was the only folk singer to perform in the ABC opera house in Berlin, in the DEF opera house in Moscow and in the GHI opera house in Rome.

    The way I see it, in (a), he was the only one to perform in any of the three opera houses mentioned. No other folk singer performed in any of the three opera houses.
    In (b), he was the only folk singer to perform in all three opera houses mentioned. There were other folk singers who had performed in one or two of those opera houses, but no one, other than him, had performed in all three.

    Am I right here? :tick:

    Many thanks.
    Yes you are. I am not sure what people are arguing about. As wpsychedelic says, it is correct. Even without further context it is correct. Even if it was an opera singer it would be correct (although counter-factual).

    I'm afraid people are confusing grammar and meaning with truth. You could be telling a lie. That does not invalidate any syntactic or semantic principles.
     

    Vektus

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Hullo, Vektus. You say:

    I suppose a) is not about "He is the guy who visited Rome, Paris, or Berlin"
    The sense is like "He is the guy who could visit A, B or C"

    Frankly, I do not understand how the insertion of could can change the general structure and meaning of my — simplified — version of azz's a) sentence.
    Well, I meant, if the guy has already visited some cities you know exactly what those cities were: Berlin, Paris or London. That's why you rightly see no need in using "or"-variant in that case.
    Otherwise, when you say "He was the guy who could...", you mean that he is just that sort of guys who could be there or there. You don't know exactly in what city he could be, and that makes the usage of "or" possible and sensible.

    That's all off-topic of course, but I just noticed that the usage of "or" can be sensible here.
     
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