0
  1. This is the same car that you bought me. (Does it mean only one car exists?)
  2. This is the same car as the one you bought me. (Does it indicate to two cars? One is the current one we are looking at, and the other is one you bought me?)
  3. This car is the same as mine. (Is it correct? Does it indicate to two cars?)
  4. This is the same car as you bought me. (Is it correct? Does it indicate to only one car?)

Actually the usage of same as seems very crucial to me. I have mentioned some other constructions below. All the followings options confused me. All they mean same to me. I cannot decide how they differ from each other. Is it possible to explain which options among the followings are correct, and how correct options differ from each other in terms of meaning?

a) This car is the same one that you bought me.

b) This car is the same that you bought me (one is omitted).

c) This car is the same one you bought me (that is omitted).

d) This is the same car you bought me (one that is omitted).

e) This is the same car as you bought me (as has been used instead of one that).

f) This car is the same as you bought me (Verb order is changed).

Now I need to change the subject. It will give us some other options.

He has the same car as me.

He has the same car as I do.

His car is the same as mine.

Are these three options equally correct?

4
  • All three of your third person statements are correct (although there are subtle differences in meaning) but none of your six first person ones is quite what a native speaker would say in any context. I'm not quite clear what you are trying to say. Is it that the car is identical to the one the other person bought you but is a different car (different registration number and maker's serial number) or is it the the actual car the other person bought you? The correct form of the sentence will depend on the required meaning.
    – BoldBen
    Aug 4 '20 at 7:21
  • I like to learn every kind of construction. I like to learn the construction that means the car is identical to the one the other person bought you but is a different car (different registration number and maker's serial number), and the construction that means it is the the actual car the other person bought you.
    – user64814
    Aug 4 '20 at 7:48
  • Also “My car is just like yours” works well—same model but not the same car.
    – Xanne
    Aug 4 '20 at 8:18
  • Don't you think you'd get more help anywhere like SE English Language Learning? Aug 6 '20 at 22:05
-1

In your first four examples, #1-3 are felicitous (stylistically correct/normally formulated, at least according to my dialect of American English), while #4 is not.

  1. This is the same car that you bought me. Only one car exists: the car in front of us now is the exact same car you bought for me in the past.
  2. This is the same car as the one you bought me. Two different cars are being referenced here: the car in front of us now is the same kind of car (most likely the same make and model) as a different car that you bought for me in the past.
  3. This car is the same as mine. Same as #2. There are two cars, and the one in front of us now is identical in some way to a different car that you own.
  4. This is the same car as you bought me. Not felicitous as written. It could be rewritten as either "This is the same car you bought me" (no as, equivalent to #1) or "This is the same car as the one you bought me" (equivalent to #2).

In most cases, using "same as" makes it clear that you're comparing two different objects (although the word order also matters). Without the "as", the meaning is more ambiguous. I think the intended meaning is pretty clear in your example #1 above, but this is not always the case. For example:

This is the same car I had (when I was) in college.

Here, the meaning is ambiguous. It could be interpreted as being the exact same car (I had it then, and I still have it now) or merely the same kind of car as the one I used to have. However, I think most people would assume the latter, since there are other ways to phrase the former statement - e.g. "I've had the same car since I was in college" - that sound a bit more natural. I can certainly see situations where you might use this phrasing to talk about a singular entity, but I think it's more commonly used for comparisons.

This (car) is the same as the car I had (when I was) in college.

Unambiguous. This car is alike in some way to a car that I had when I was in college, but it is not the same car.

In the context of cars, I think most people would assume that "sameness" means the same make and model. You could qualify the statement by saying something like: "This (car) is the same as the one you bought me, only a different color." This tells the listener that you are making a comparison between (1) the car that's in front of you now, and (2) a different car, which the listener bought for the speaker at some point in the past, and that the two cars are the same in terms of some relevant details (presumably the make and model), except for the detail that was explicitly mentioned (the color).

As for your other examples, (a), (c), and (d) are felicitous and equivalent in meaning to #1 above (there is only one car). Examples (b), (e), and (f) are not grammatically correct. The last three all sound fine to me, and I would interpret them in the same way: there are two cars (his and yours), and the cars are identical in some way.

12
  • The last three might sometimes mean that he and you share a car, but normally they would just mean that your cars are identical in some way.
    – Peter
    Aug 4 '20 at 7:54
  • @Peter I agree that there's enough ambiguity there to interpret any of them that way (with the third example being the biggest stretch), but that would be an odd way to express that idea. Almost like formal logic.
    – pinkfrosty
    Aug 4 '20 at 8:07
  • Agreed. But if it was a flat instead of a car it would be the normal meaning for the first two.
    – Peter
    Aug 4 '20 at 8:33
  • One form which is missing from your answer is "This car is the same as the one you bought me" which means that it's a different car but is the same model, and probably the same colour. I believe that the use of "same" probably changed its meaning slightly and was used more commonly after industrialisation because before then there were far fewer identical objects.
    – BoldBen
    Aug 4 '20 at 8:43
  • @pinkfrosty, Your explanation was really helpful for me. May I ask some more questions? If object A is the same as object B, then there is only one object, which has two labels (A and B). If object A is the same as object B, then there are two different objects that are identical in some contextually relevant way- I couldn't understand it. Once only same is bold, later same as is bold, but they mean different. In written English, we usually cannot write any word in bold form. So whatever we write, either same or same as, they will mean only one thing. Will you make it clear?
    – user64814
    Aug 4 '20 at 8:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.