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Which sentence is most common and natural?

  • Finally, one of our neighbors broke his kitchen's wall open and got her.
  • Finally, one of our neighbors broke his kitchen wall open and got her.
  • Finally, one of our neighbors broke open the wall of his kitchen and got her.
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This could be interpreted as the neighbor broke through his own wall or it could be interpreted as the neighbor broke through someone else's wall. To whom does the 'his' refer? –  Jim May 23 '12 at 15:58
    
It refers to his own wall in his kitchen. –  Monica May 23 '12 at 16:14
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I think I would say, "Finally, one of our neighbors broke open his kitchen wall and got her." Or, if he just made a small hole in the wall, "Finally, one of our neighbors broke in to his kitchen wall and got her." (Just curious, is "her" some sort of animal, like a kitten?) –  JLG May 23 '12 at 16:21
    
Yes, it's a kitten. –  Monica May 23 '12 at 16:22
    
But doesn't it sound like a neighbor broke open another neighbor's wall. –  Monica May 23 '12 at 16:25

2 Answers 2

up vote -3 down vote accepted

Kitchen's don't own their walls do they? The owner of the building owns the wall, so the first option is out.

The last two options are semantically equivalent but "his" is ambiguous. It might become evident in the context, for example:

Joe had a Little in his house who was stealing food. Finally, one of our neighbors broke his kitchen wall open and got her.

I would just remove the ambiguity and go with:

Joe had a Little in his house who was stealing food. Finally, one of our neighbors broke Joe's kitchen wall open and caught her.

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In my sentence I had to show that the neighbor broke open his own wall in the kitchen. That's why I didn't remove 'his'. –  Monica May 23 '12 at 16:28
    
Why, "one of our neighbors" then? You could name the neighbor and that would remove the ambiguity as well. "Finally, Joe broke his kitchen wall open and got her." –  Timothy Lee Russell May 23 '12 at 17:06

If you're looking for the "most common and natural" of the three I might go with the second:

Finally, one of our neighbors broke his kitchen wall open and got her.

However, while you'll hear native speakers saying such a sentence, the more grammatically correct construct (not taking into account the ambiguity created by his) would be:

Finally, one of our neighbors broke open his kitchen wall and got her.

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