Many girls have long hair, but Nikita's hair is the < shortest / longest >.

doveric

Member
Chinese
Many girls in my class have long hair but Nikita's hair is the _________________.

(A) shortest
(B) longest

Will you pick A or B? The teacher of my son said A but I think B would make the first half of the sentence more meaningful as the whole sentence would mean Nikita's hair is unusually long whereas if the answer is B, the first half would look otiose. However, others said that the use of "but" instead of a "while" hinted the answer should be A (which I don't even understand).

Could anyone help? If both answers are logically and grammatically correct, I would like to have a preferable one from the grammar perspective to explain it to my son.

Thank you!
 
  • Tyrion Lann

    Senior Member
    INDIA -Hindi
    But gives a contradiction effect to any sentence like. I thought I would clear the exam with flying colours but I couldn't make it.
    So answer should be A .
    But if want to use B . The sentence should be such ...
    Many girls in my class have long hair and Nikita's hair is the longest of them.
     

    waltern

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Between the two, I would go with "B" - choosing "A" as the more correct answer does not make sense to me at all.

    Many girls in my class have long hair, but Nikita's is the longest. :tick:
    Many girls in my class have long hair, but Nikita wears hers short. :tick:
     
    Last edited:

    Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    Could anyone help?
    B definitely produces the more natural-sounding sentence. "Longest" forms a type of contradiction with the fact that the other girls' hair is long. I agree with you, Doveric, that if A had been "short" instead of "shortest" then A would (also) sound natural.
     

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    But if want to use B . The sentence should be such ...
    Many girls in my class have long hair and Nikita's hair is the longest of them.
    Not at all. The original sentence says nothing about Nikita being one of the girls with long hair. In fact it says nothing about Nikita being a girl.

    I could understand you making that assumption, shri 8, because Nikita (निकिता, I think) is used as a girl's name in India. However, probably the commonest use of Nikita is as a male given name in Slavic countries (essentially Russia): for example Nikita Khrushchev, leader of the Soviet Union in the late '50s / early '60s; also a couple of Russian princes and various other Russian notables, all male. In the Western world, Nikita started appearing as a female given name only recently, following the Elton John song Nikita. The lyrics didn't specify whether the person in question was male or female, but the video clip showed Nikita as a female border guard.

    So, statistically speaking, I'd guess that Nikita is more likely to be male than female, and answer B then has all the sense of contradiction that you might want:

    - Many girls in my class have long hair, but Nikita's hair is the longest. (Many girls in my class have long hair, but the longest hair is that of a boy: Nikita.)

    Ws
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Even if Nikita is a girl, like the other native speakers I find B to be natural, while A is odd.
    Consider these:
    Many of the birds in our aviary are rare, but the Greenheaded Woodpecker is the rarest.
    Many of the ladies at court had expensive tiaras, but the tiara of the Duchess of Ruritania was the most expensive.
    Many of the villages in Wales have long names, but the name of the village of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is the longest.
     

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    Even if Nikita is a girl, like the other native speakers I find B to be natural, while A is odd.
    Yes, so do I. I was so busy countering shri 8's point that I omitted to mention that I'd choose B anyway (even if Nikita was a girl). I agree with Glenfarclas's reasoning in #6, and indeed doveric's in #1 (though I think it should read "whereas if the answer were A [not B], the first half would look otiose").:confused:

    Ws
     
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