English isn't my native language, so my question might seem dumb to you, but I wanna be sure.

I'm writing some fiction, but I have some problems with syntax... Here's the question at issue : "why is this guy my brother and not Ed...?" The context : the speaker is annoyed by her brother behavior (named "Sven"), and love the personnality of the "Ed" guy. So I would like to say, or stress, that she would prefer have Ed as a brother rather than Sven. I don't even know if this type of question is relevant.

I hope you understand what I'm asking... Sorry if it's something really silly!

Thank you!

1 Answer 1


Firstly, don't apologise. Your English is better than most native speakers in my English home town already, plus you're trying to make your readers' experience better for their benefit. Go you!!

I think you could use any of the following options, depending on your opinion on use of font to alter meaning;

"Why is this guy my brother, and not Ed?" " Why is THIS/this guy my brother, and not Ed?"

If it were me, my preference would be to write "Why couldn't Ed be my brother, instead of this guy?". Sounds much more plaintive; I bet lots of people with annoying siblings can relate...

  • Thank you very much for your reply and your kindness! :)
    – Sarah L
    Oct 9, 2018 at 12:06

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