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I came across many sentences , in few the same is correct but in other its use was incorrect. Although going through many sites, didn't understand the difference.

The police started the investigation but couldn't complete the same .

Here there is no error as per exam answer key.

When you have gone through my notes, give the same to me.

In this, use of the same is wrong.

Whats the difference. How to use 'the same' in correct way.

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    Where did you find the sentences? who said that one is correct and the other is wrong? – successive suspension Nov 9 '19 at 6:46
  • @Englishmonger These questions are from SSC CGL exam taken by Indian government – Pradeep Nov 9 '19 at 7:19
  • The use of the same is grammatical in both sentences. And it's more common that a previous comment is suggesting. I wouldn't say I hear—or read—it frequently, but it's certainly used and not at all obsolete. (1) I'm going to study now. I suggest you do the same. (2) I ate a hamburger for dinner that night. I ate the same (thing) the following night too. – Jason Bassford Nov 9 '19 at 13:19
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    As a BritEnglish speaker I agree with your answers: both are correct but very rarely used. However in IndEnglish (definitely not quite the same!) 'the same' is used in this sense much more frequently, but I'm not a native IndEnglish speaker so couldn't comment on the specific rules for it. – simon at rcl Nov 9 '19 at 17:16
  • @JasonBassfordSupportsMonica Your examples are correct and very common usage. But OP's constructions are very unidiomatic. I can't see why anyone would use OP's exact sentence construction. I can't think of a situation where anyone would say "I started eating a cheese burger but couldn't finish the same" instead of "I started eating a cheese burger but couldn't finish it". – AIQ Nov 10 '19 at 10:42
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Based on the other comments and the differences in Canadian English between the two sentences, I think I can answer your question.

The police started the investigation but couldn't complete the same.

In Canadian English, this sentence would become the following:

The police started the investigation but couldn't complete it.

"it" is used because the object of the sentence, "investigation", is a singular noun. Compare this to the next sentence in Canadian English:

When you have gone through my notes, give them to me.

"them" is used because the object is a plural noun, "notes".

Going back to your original sentences, I think "the same" is correct in the first sentence because in Indian English "the same" is used to substitute for "it" and to refer to a singular object/noun. The second sentence is incorrect because using "the same" would mean using it to substitute for "them" and to refer to a plural object/noun.

I'm not a native Indian English speaker, so it's hard to tell how correct my answer is with only two examples to apply it to, but hopefully this is helpful.

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In legal language and in administrative law (government) language, you do see same or the same used like that regardless of the variety of English. I only give four country examples below. I think those are enough.

My example: - They did not complete the investigation of (the) same. [same would have to be defined earlier in the text]

It is considered very formal and is used in most varieties of formal, legal or administrative English.

It refers to some matter or subject previously mentioned in a text.

Example from a court case cited online:

US:

"Thereupon, the witnesses were duly sworn and the Court then heard testimony from the various witnesses for the State and the defendant, and at the conclusion of same and after due consideration, the Court does hereby sustain the Motion to have the juvenile jurisdiction of this matter waived and the proceeding transferred to the criminal jurisdiction of this Court and to have the defendant tried as an adult rather than as a juvenile and gave its finding of fact and conclusion of law concerning same...."

same

In the paragraph above, the word same refers to the testimony of all the witnesses.

Here's one from South Africa: same

It is used six times in the text.

4) That the first respondent be ordered to pay the costs of this application; alternatively, the first and second respondent, jointly and severally, be ordered to pay the costs of this application in the event the second respondent opposes same.

And here is one from Northern Ireland.

[...] relating to disputes over the title to Folio 2974 and the litigation over many years now in respect of same. Northern Ireland - same

I recommend not using it in normal circumstances.

Also, for me, this: When you have gone through my notes, give the same to me. is not really great.

When you have gone through my notes, give them back to me.

And this: The police started the investigation but couldn't complete the same. could conceivably be found in a not-so-well-written police report.

The formal nature of same does not go well with couldn't. But police officers are not known for being good writers.

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  • Thanks but why you replaced the same in second sentence. When you have gone through my notes give them to me. Is the same incorrectly used here. – Pradeep Nov 10 '19 at 3:36
  • @Pradeep It should be clear that "same" or "the same" would not be used in a non-legal context. I stated that clearly. – Lambie Nov 10 '19 at 16:56

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