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DRUG is a recombinant trispecific antibody, having specificity against TARGET1, TARGET2 and TARGET3, as well as several orthologic targets.

I was reviewing a translation and changed this sentence to

DRUG is a recombinant trispecific antibody with specificity against TARGET1, TARGET2 and TARGET3 as well as several orthologic targets.

..because, in my view, this "having" phrase implies a cause-and-effect relation of this sort:

Because the antibody has specificity against the targets, it is a trispecific antibody.

..whereas in the original text the specificity characteristic was merely descriptive.

Am I right, or may this "having" be descriptive too?

What if we only remove the commas in the original sentence:

DRUG is a recombinant trispecific antibody having specificity against TARGET1, TARGET2 and TARGET3 as well as several orthologic targets.

Would this be analogous to my sentence with "with"?

  • specificity is jargon here. Not sure what "having specifity" means. I'll have to look it up. I assume it means that it targets the target(s) and only the target(s)? But "with" and "having" are synonymous in this use. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Sep 13 '16 at 12:43
  • @TRomano - yes, it means that it is active against those targets and does not affect the body's other proteins. – CowperKettle Sep 13 '16 at 12:44
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    The comma could go whether you use "with" or "having". But I don't think the comma changes the meaning. The having clause doesn't "justify" the "tripspecific" or explain it parenthetically merely by virtue of the comma. That would be "..., i.e. having specificity against three targets, ...". Since three specific targets are mentioned, it isn't parsed as a parenthetic explaining "trispecific". – Tᴚoɯɐuo Sep 13 '16 at 12:47
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    With the blue-eyed girl we could substitute "because she has" for "having". But we cannot do that with the trispecific example because three specific targets are mentioned, not "three targets". It is dual purpose because it has two functions. "It is dual purpose because it spins and vibrates" might be said, but it would be an odd way to explain what "dual-purpose" means. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Sep 13 '16 at 12:55
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    Consider: Why did you say it was dual purpose? -- I said it was dual-purpose because it spins and vibrates. What is dual purpose? -- Something is dual-purpose when it has two functions (not when it spins and vibrates). – Tᴚoɯɐuo Sep 13 '16 at 13:00
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First, I must say that I prefer your version over the original phrasing. The sentence becomes simpler and less pompous, and the intent is clear and unambiguous to non-native readers, unlike the original - as your question demonstrates.

Here's the thing: if the sentence was reversed, as in

Having specificity against TARGET1, TARGET2 and TARGET3 (...), DRUG is a recombinant trispecific antibody (...)

... Then it would definitely imply cause-and-effect relation. Your blue-eyed girl example fits into this pattern. But with the normal order, "having" is roughly analogous to "that has". Compare the following two sentences

  1. Brazil is one of the countries where Portuguese is spoken, which is known for its Samba music and dance.
  2. Brazil is one of the countries where Portuguese is spoken, known for its Samba music and dance.

The first sentence is logically less ambiguous... but the second would not be unusual to read or hear. The (false) causality would be implied only with an inverted order:

  1. Known for its Samba music and dance, Brazil is one of the countries where Portuguese is spoken (...??)

... Which, surprisingly, is a sentence you can also hear sometimes... but in my opinion it is pompous and bad usage of English.

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