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I want to convey the thought that a male parent of one of my students drinks coffee every day.

Which option is correct?

  1. And it's not a rare thing to see the middle-aged generation on this island to also show some liking toward coffee. One of my students' dad drinks coffee every day.
  1. And it's not a rare thing to see the middle-aged generation on this island to also show some liking toward coffee. One of my students' dads drinks coffee every day.
  1. And it's not a rare thing to see the middle-aged generation on this island to also show some liking toward coffee. A dad of one of my students drinks coffee every day.
  1. And it's not a rare thing to see the middle-aged generation on this island to also show some liking toward coffee. The dad of one of my students drinks coffee every day.
  1. ?

Please, note that I want to use the word "dad" (not "father"). For some reason none of these options sound right to me.

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  • Interesting. Strictly speaking there's a difference between 1: I met one of my friends' brother and 2: I met one of my friends' brothers. So far as I can see, #1 there can only mean I met one brother (of one of my friends, who may or may not have other brothers - and it's even possible he has only one brother, and none of my other friends have any brothers at all). But #2 could mean the same (except there must be at least two "brothers of a friend", whether they're brothers of the same friend or not). OR it might mean I met more than one brother. Nov 24, 2020 at 13:28
  • ...for your purposes, we know we're only referring to one dad because of the singular verb drinks, but in terms of the parsing it could be singular [one of my friends]' dad (the father of one of my friends) OR plural one of [my friends' dads] (one of the fathers of my friends). Nov 24, 2020 at 13:41

1 Answer 1

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Number 2 works, and it makes sense. You have more than one student, and they (presumably) have, collectively, more than one dad. You have the set of the dads of the students, and you are specifying one of them.

(The word "to" after "island" should be dropped.)

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  • It's interesting to compare the possible semantics of one of my friends' dad[s] with one of my friends' brother[s]. Approximately speaking we'd probably say that although each friend could have multiple brothers, they can only have one "dad" each. But in these days of gender and domestic fluidity, it's no longer ridiculous to say I have two dads, so we shouldn't let the semantics override the syntax there. Nov 24, 2020 at 13:34

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