Skip to main content

1-He plays the guitar, as his brother does.
2-He plays the guitar, like his brother.

These sentences would normally mean:
a-He plays the guitar and so does his brother.

I think the sentences might also mean:
b-He plays the guitar the same way his brother does.

I always thought that in this case, the part after the comma has been added as an afterthought. I thought they could only reflect spoken language. But could these sentences not be used if we have two focal points? I want to say that he plays the guitar and also that he plays it like his brother. In that case, they would be acceptable in written formal English as well.

Gratefully,
Navi.
Last edited {1}
Original Post
Hi, Navi,

I think the presence or absence of a comma before the clause of manner or comparison will determine interpretation.

1.a. He plays the guitar, as his brother does.
2.a. He plays the guitar, like his brother. (In colloquial English, here we could also say "like his brother does.")
(What I interpret here is that both of them play the guitar.)
In this case, inversion may apply (please see http://thegrammarexchange.info...0600179/m/8232957537)

1.b. He plays the guitar as his brother does.
2.b. He plays the guitar like his brother (does).
(What I interpret here is that both of them play the guitar in the same way.)

To reflect an afterthought in spoken language, I'd use a period rather than a comma, but in my opinion - let's see what our moderators can kindly tell us - the result would be ambiguous:
1.c. He plays the guitar. As his brother does. (It is unclear if we refer to the action or to the manner of playing the guitar.)
2.c. He plays the guitar. Like his brother (does). (Idem above)
Thank you, Navi. I was thinking that perhaps a dash could be used instead of a period in sentences 1.c and 2.c. A dash would imply a longer pause than a comma, thus imitating the time the speaker takes for his/her afterthought. If we use a period, the second sentence turns out to be incomplete, but perhaps this may be justified by the fact that it merely reflects speech in which some elements are tacit. Maybe our moderators can shed further light on this.

Add Reply

×
×
×
×
Link copied to your clipboard.
×