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Somehow I'm not able to differentiate between these two sentences:

Love which is greater for a child than for the wife.

Love which is greater for a child than the wife.

Which one is grammatically correct? and what's the difference between them?

Please help. Thank You.

closed as unclear what you're asking by Cascabel, Hellion, Scott, Rory Alsop, Hank Feb 9 '17 at 22:58

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    These are fragments, not sentences. There is no main verb. Either could be correct; they may mean different things or they may not. Context will decide that, and there is none quoted in the question. As it stands, neither fragment can stand alone. – Andrew Leach Feb 8 '17 at 12:07
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Love which is greater for a child than for the wife: this is definitely correct.

Because you have used the definite article in front of wife but the indefinite article in front of child, however, it implies that the love in question could be greater for any child (either one of hers or even someone else's) than it is for the wife.

If you use the definite article in front of both child and wife it implies that the child is the wife's. Love which is greater for the child than for the wife.

If you use the indefinite article in front of both it implies that love is greater for any child than it is for any wife regardless of their relationship. Love which is greater for a child than for a wife.

Love which is greater for a child than the wife: this could be confusing. Is the wife greater than the love?

'Which is greater for a child than for the wife' is a sub-ordinate clause, it should be followed by a sentence describing or defining the 'love' in question. 'Love which is greater for a child than for the wife is common', for instance.

  • Could you break this up using an empty line to separate paragraphs? Currently it's not clear which sentence relates to what. – Andrew Leach Feb 8 '17 at 12:04
  • Thank you so much for the answer. Here's the context: A greater love for a child than for the wife consists of pure mood. So the mood of this love which is greater for a child than for the wife is pure mood. This is from a forum I came across yesterday. – Alex Anderson Feb 8 '17 at 12:32
  • I wrote it with separate paragraphs but it sent it without them, I'll try again. – Chris M Feb 8 '17 at 12:33
  • Done it, hopefully that's clearer. – Chris M Feb 8 '17 at 12:35
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A bit of context could provide some useful hints, such as for instance whether the wife is the child's mother or just someone's wife, or whether the speaker is their father and husband or rather a scientist watching them through a one-way glass. But I suspect that Alex served them us clipped off the page on purpose, as a challenge.

The only clue left is the indefinite article used for the child, which would suggest either that the child is one out of many in the family, or that the sentences come from a scientific or pseudo-scientific publication (but in the latter case also the wife would likely be a wife).

Like this, out of nowhere, the first sentence "Love which is greater for a child than for the wife" can be read in two ways:

1: someone loves a child more than the wife

2: a child appreciates/needs love more than the wife

Whereas the second one, "Love which is greater for a child than the wife", could mean that for a child love is more important than the wife (a child needs love no matter from whom it comes).

Grammatical correctness (someone will differ) can be long debated and negotiated, but helps very little per se if the sentence is ambiguous or doesn't reflect what the speaker is trying to say.

This is as far as I go.

  • Thank you so much for the answer. Here's the context: A greater love for a child than for the wife consists of pure mood. So the mood of this love which is greater for a child than for the wife is pure mood. This is from a forum I came across yesterday. – Alex Anderson Feb 8 '17 at 12:30
  • OMG, If that's all the context you have I'll better give up! ;-) – user218421 Feb 8 '17 at 14:08

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