that cousin of mine vs. the cousin of mine

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azz

Senior Member
armenian
Can one say



a. I was talking to that cousin of mine in Seattle.
a1. I was talking to the cousin of mine in Seattle.
(I have more than one cousin, I was talking to the one who is in Seattle)


b. I was talking to that husband of mine in Chicago.
b1. I was talking to the husband of mine in Chicago.

(I have one husband, who by the way, is in Chicago)


?

The sentences are mine.

I think (b1) does not work. (b) sounds as if the speaker is not very happy with her husband. (a) might be used if she is not happy with her cousin, but I don't think that implication is necessarily there.


Many thanks.
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    As polyandry is very unusual, this will provide the context and we see that the "that" in I was talking to that husband of mine in Chicago. is probably an ellipsis of a suitable profanity, e.g. I was talking to that damn husband of mine in Chicago.

    Being annoyed with cousins and being specific about cousins are possibilities and again in I was talking to that cousin of mine in Seattle. the context will tell us which one it is.

    You should bear in mind that the and that are very closely related as demonstrative adjectives with a meaning of approximately "that I know you will bring to mind." if we substitute this meaning into I was talking to the husband of mine in Chicago. you will see that I was talking to the husband that I know you will bring to mind of mine in Chicago. You will see that the function of the becomes a pointless repetition of the blindingly obvious.

    You will see the difference between your examples and "The police have caught that/the husband who killed his wife in Chicago."

    In a word, "context".
     
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