Prince Andrew, son of Queen Elizabeth and a Navy helicopter pilot [apposition: order?]

High on grammar

Senior Member
Farsi
Hello everyone:
I came across the following sentence in the introduction to “Longman Guide to English Usage” by Sidney Greenbaum, which the book says is grammatically faulty but doesn’t offer the corrected version:

“Buckingham Palace said that 22-year-old Prince Andrew, son of Queen Elizabeth and a Navy helicopter pilot, would sail with the Invincible.”


Here is my suggested version of the sentence:

Buckingham Palace said that 22-year-old Prince Andrew, son of Queen Elizabeth , along with a Navy helicopter pilot, would sail with the Invincible.


What do you guys think?
Thank you all in advance.
 
  • johnydynamic

    Senior Member
    English - US

    “Buckingham Palace said that 22-year-old Prince Andrew, son of Queen Elizabeth and a Navy helicopter pilot, would sail with the Invincible.”

    Buckingham Palace said that 22-year-old Prince Andrew, son of Queen Elizabeth , along with a Navy helicopter pilot, would sail with the Invincible.
    You are misunderstanding the meaning of the sentence. Your correction presumes that the Prince and the helicopter pilot are 2 people.This is not the case.

    The sentence is telling us that
    - The palace has stated that Prince Andrew will sail on the Invincible.
    - He is the son of Queen Elizabeth.
    - He is also a helicopter pilot.

    Regards,
    Johny D.
     

    High on grammar

    Senior Member
    Farsi
    You are misunderstanding the meaning of the sentence. Your correction presumes that the Prince and the helicopter pilot are 2 people.This is not the case.

    The sentence is telling us that
    - The palace has stated that Prince Andrew will sail on the Invincible.
    - He is the son of Queen Elizabeth.
    - He is also a helicopter pilot.

    Regards,
    Johny D.
    how about this one, then?

    Buckingham Palace said that 22-year-old Prince Andrew, the son of Queen Elizabeth , and a Navy helicopter pilot, would sail with the Invincible.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Johnny's given the interpretation that the writer undoubtedly intended to convey.

    The problem with the sentence is that it's readable as suggesting that Prince Andrew is the son of [Queen Elizabeth & a Navy helicopter pilot] - that his father wasn't Prince Philip but some unspecified pilot.

    Adding an extra comma, as you have done, would help. So would changing the order so that it reads "Prince Andrew, a helicopter pilot and the son ...", though the sequence would then be a bit odd. The best option would be to insert some extra words after "and".
     

    High on grammar

    Senior Member
    Farsi
    Johnny's given the interpretation that the writer undoubtedly intended to convey.

    The problem with the sentence is that it's readable as suggesting that Prince Andrew is the son of [Queen Elizabeth & a Navy helicopter pilot] - that his father wasn't Prince Philip but some unspecified pilot.

    Adding an extra comma, as you have done, would help. So would changing the order so that it reads "Prince Andrew, a helicopter pilot and the son ...", though the sequence would then be a bit odd. The best option would be to insert some extra words after "and".

    Thanks Loob, you are very kind.
     

    High on grammar

    Senior Member
    Farsi
    How about this one?


    “Buckingham Palace said that 22-year-old Prince Andrew, the son of Queen Elizabeth, who is also a Navy helicopter pilot, would sail with the Invincible.”
     
    The simplest fix:

    “Buckingham Palace said that 22-year-old Prince Andrew, Queen Elizabeth's son, and a Navy helicopter pilot, would sail with the Invincible.”


    Also Loob's is not bad, though somehow odd (sequence of thought), as she said,

    “Buckingham Palace said that 22-year-old Prince Andrew, a Navy helicopter pilot, and son of Queen Elizabeth, would sail with the Invincible.”

    ===
    A better re arrangement:

    “Buckingham Palace said that 22-year-old son of Queen Elizabeth, Prince Andrew, a Navy helicopter pilot, would sail with the Invincible.”
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    How about this one?
    “Buckingham Palace said that 22-year-old Prince Andrew, the son of Queen Elizabeth, who is also a Navy helicopter pilot, would sail with the Invincible.”
    Now you've got the Queen as a helicopter pilot. It's not one of her accomplishments, or how she is employed.
    Very funny, TT:D:D:D

    HoG, what I was thinking of before was just inserting a couple of words:
    Buckingham Palace said that 22-year-old Prince Andrew, son of Queen Elizabeth and currently serving as a Navy helicopter pilot, would sail with the Invincible.

    You could solve the problem with a relative clause, as you suggest, but you'd need to turn the sentence round to make sure the relative clause referred back to the right person:
    Buckingham Palace said that Queen Elizabeth's 22-year-old son Prince Andrew, who is a Navy helicopter pilot, would sail with the Invincible.

    Now I look at it, something along those lines is probably the best solution of all:
    Buckingham Palace said that Queen Elizabeth's 22-year-old son Prince Andrew, a Navy helicopter pilot, would sail with the Invincible.

    :)


    EDIT: cross-posted with benny.
     
    Last edited:

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    This is becoming more like Monsieur Jourdain's philosophy lesson by the minute.

    If we must stick with condensed relatives, how about Buckingham Palace said that 22-year-old Prince Andrew, a Navy helicopter pilot, and son of Queen Elizabeth, would sail with the Invincible?

    I expect someone's suggested it before, but I couldn't find it. That seems to me to avoid both the Scylla of bastard parentage and the Charybdis of having the Queen piloting helicopters.

    Some great minds go off at a tangent.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I think I'd agree with you, and I appreciate your joining in the fun, Rover, had I said a son of Queen Elizabeth.

    It seems to me that Charlie, an engineer, and a friend of Pete could easily be three people or two (Charlie the engineer and Pete's friend).

    However Charlie, an engineer, and friend of Pete could be one (Charlie) or two (Charlie and the engineer who is Pete's friend), though in the second case I'd lose the comma.

    Then I suppose I should, logically, admit that Prince Andrew, a Navy helicopter pilot, and son of Queen Elizabeth could be two people (the prince and the helicopter pilot who is Queen Elizabeth's son). I'm having trouble hearing it like that, Rover, maybe because what I know about Prince Andrew is interfering with my critical grammatical ear, such as it is.

    I'm surprised you hear three people.
     
    It lack weird ambiguities, true. But why in the world would anyone mention the palace, the Prince, the Prince's army duties, then mention whose son he is? :confused:


    If we must stick with condensed relatives, how about Buckingham Palace said that 22-year-old Prince Andrew, a Navy helicopter pilot, and son of Queen Elizabeth, would sail with the Invincible?
     

    Delvo

    Senior Member
    American English
    Andrew son of Elizabeth will serve aboard the Invincible as a helicopter pilot. (Another issue is that the original failed to underline or italicize the ship's name.)

    Of course, that version is if we insist on keeping all of the same original information in the sentence. The simplest solution is actually to omit the reference to Elizabeth. She has nothing to do with Andrew's service in the Navy or where the Navy assigns him, and anybody who is interested enough in the royal family to bother reading about Andrew's exploits already knows who he is and who she is, so those readers don't need to be told again. (People who don't know that information won't be reading an article about what he's been up to lately.)
     

    High on grammar

    Senior Member
    Farsi
    Andrew son of Elizabeth will serve aboard the Invincible as a helicopter pilot. (Another issue is that the original failed to underline or italicize the ship's name.)

    Of course, that version is if we insist on keeping all of the same original information in the sentence. The simplest solution is actually to omit the reference to Elizabeth. She has nothing to do with Andrew's service in the Navy or where the Navy assigns him, and anybody who is interested enough in the royal family to bother reading about Andrew's exploits already knows who he is and who she is, so those readers don't need to be told again. (People who don't know that information won't be reading an article about what he's been up to lately.)
    Thank you all
     

    Giorgio Spizzi

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Erm, maybe a couple of commas might help?

    (Prince) Andrew, son of (Queen) Elizabeth, will serve aboard the Invincible as a helicopter pilot.

    GS :)
     
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