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Consider these sentences. The first is as I sent it to an editor. The second is as the editor sent it back, corrected as he saw it. I almost sent it back with my first version, then added the 'from' to it as well. Which of these, if any, is correct?

  1. "It has been a pleasure to watch Nadal play tennis this year. Among his peers, the only name that comes to mind is Federer's."

  2. "It has been a pleasure to watch Nadal play tennis this year. Among his peers, the only name that comes to mind is Federer."

  3. "It has been a pleasure to watch Nadal play tennis this year. From among his peers, the only name that comes to mind is Federer's."

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Forgive my ignorance, but not everyone is interested in tennis and therefore may not know whether Nadal and Federer are names, titles or groups. You should probably clarify that to make it easier for readers to understand your question, especially because in the title you mention a "group" and there doesn't seem to be any group involved in the question itself. – RiMMER Nov 14 '11 at 13:46
I don't see why any knowledge of tennis or the players is needed. You could replace tennis with softball and Nadal and Federer with Jack and Jill, or just keep tennis and the names are Harry and Barry, the grammatical issue remains the same. The group referred to is that of the 'peers,' in the second sentence. – Akin Nov 15 '11 at 9:13

Both your 1st version and your editor's are correct. The problem comes from the word name, I think. Do you say Federer's name? If yes, then your sentence is correct. On the other hand, Federer is a name, so the editor's correction is also valid.

Version 3 doesn't look wrong to me, but from isn't necessary to convey the meaning any better.

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The editor's version is better. It's grammatically valid to add 's, but we're interested in the players, not the "ownership" of their names. And OP's third attempt is even worse, since it calls attention to the idea that the writer in some sense has a larger list of peers in mind, from which he can only retrieve the name of one of them. – FumbleFingers Nov 14 '11 at 14:34

All three are grammatical. Federer's is short for Federer's name and there is no linguistic reason why you should not use it. I am not clear, however, what any of the three sentences means. My guess is that the meaning to be conveyed is something like It has been a pleasure to watch Nadal play tennis this year and only Federer comes close to him in ability, style and performance. If so, you might like to find an entirely different way of expressing it.

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I think if "his peers" means "Federer's peers" it would be a rather odd thing to say. If only Federer's own name comes to mind from a list of his peers, surely from the speaker's point of view Federer is peerless. In which case why mention him alongside Nadal? But the whole phrasing is clumsy and overblown, as you imply. If no other "peers" can be called to mind, in what sense can they be said to exist at all? Better to recast the sentence completely. – FumbleFingers Nov 14 '11 at 14:25
@FumbleFingers: I agree, and have deleted that bit of my answer. – Barrie England Nov 14 '11 at 14:43
Yes. "Federer's" is shordhand for "Federer's name", and Federer's name is "Federer". Therefore "Federer" and "Federer's" are interchangeable in the sentence. – slim Nov 14 '11 at 16:46
Just to clarify, the 'peers' here refer to Nadal's, not Federer's. I agree with FumbleFingers that the 3rd might look clumsiest, with the implication being that there is a larger list, and Federer's name is the only one that comes to mind.I initially had problems with the editor's version since the phrase 'Among his peers' refers to people and 'the only name' refers to a name. But as has been pointed out well, the names and people are interchangeable here since we're talking about them, not necessarily the ownership of names. Thanks, all. – Akin Nov 15 '11 at 9:22

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