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mimi2

Senior Member
vietnam vietnamese
Hi,
“Peter, Harry, and Chuck were first, second, and third in the school cross-country race.”
I think the sentence above makes sense and it is grammatically correct. Please tell me the meaning of adding “respectively” to the sentence.
“Peter, Harry, and Chuck were first, second, and third respectively in the school cross-country race"
If I don’t use “respectively” to explain a meaning, can I use a word, a phrase to express it?
Thanks.
 
  • modal

    New Member
    US, english
    "Respectively" implies that the two lists are synchronized. In this case you have the list of people, and the list of how they finished. Thus, Peter was first, Harry was second, and Chuck was third. It can sometimes be unclear without adding "respectively" to the sentence.

    Also, I believe you need commas around it (and I added "finished" because it sounds a bit better):
    “Peter, Harry, and Chuck finished first, second, and third, respectively, in the school cross-country race"
     

    mimi2

    Senior Member
    vietnam vietnamese
    Thank you, modal.
    I am wondering if it is the only way to use "respectively". How can I do to express the same meaning without using "respectively"?
    Thanks.
     

    modal

    New Member
    US, english
    Thank you, modal.
    I am wondering if it is the only way to use "respectively". How can I do to express the same meaning without using "respectively"?
    Thanks.
    Peter finished first, Harry finished second, and Chuck finished third in the school cross-country race.
    or
    In the school cross-country race, Peter finished first, Harry finished second, and Chuck finished third.
     

    Harry Batt

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Since respectively means "in that order" or "in the order of" you could use it, eg.,
    Peter, Harry and Chuck were first, second and third, in that order at the school cross-country race. However, I would keep respectively because it is so well understood. And "in that order" has a common different usage. In that order is often and effectively used when contestants appear on a program. Eg., Sally, Suzzie and Sam, in that order, played piano pieces at the school recital.
     

    mimi2

    Senior Member
    vietnam vietnamese
    Thank you, Harry Batt and modal, for helping me understand "respectively".
    In fact, I don't know how to translate it into Vietnamese so I have to find another way to explain it.
     
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