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I come from a family of completely Italian lineage called the Carusos.

Since "the Carusos" is the antecedent of "family" is it that bad to have it come after lineage? Would it be better to say:

I come from a family called the Carusos, which is of completely Italian lineage.

I just like the first one better, but if it's technically wrong...

2 Answers 2

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I come from a family of completely Italian lineage called the Carusos.

This is a very awkward construction. As Chris Zhang points out, the separation of "family" and "called the Carusos" introduces ambiguity. Also, the use of "called" here is uncommon. We don't usually say "something is called 'x'" when "x" is its standard name. We use "called" to introduce an alternate name. So as written, the sentence gives the impression that perhaps the family name is not Caruso (or Carusos), but some reason they are called the Carusos. Introducing the plural "they" makes it unclear whether the name is Caruso or Carusos.

Lastly, and this is a fine point, although it is often used as a synonym for "totally", "completely" implies that some action has ended. A "complete victory" implies that there was nothing more to be won. A "complete mess" implies that previously existing order has been reduced to total chaos. But there is no way to change non-Italian lineage to Italian lineage, and so here the use of "completely" is slightly distracting. I would use "purely" instead; it is both shorter and clearer, thus:

I come from the Caruso family, of purely Italian lineage.

Unless your name is Carusos. I still don't know.

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It's unclear whether the family or the lineage is called the Carusos as it is.

I come from the Carusos family, one of complete Italian lineage.

Is one way to clear it up.

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