First, could you have a look at this quote, focusing on the highlighted portion?

We looked for explanations as to why we felt so constantly wrung out — ranging from depression to mid-life crisis to demonic curse — without considering that maybe the problem was that oh yeah we'd just had our second child.

Because having a second child, as it turns out, is far harder than people realise — particularly for the people having said child.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-12-08/the-things-no-one-tells-you-about-having-a-second-child/11759690 (Bold font mine)

To me, the phrase in bold font seems out of place. It doesn't need to be there. The author seems to just state that "Because having a second child, as it turns out, is far harder than people realize." And that's the end of it here, it seems to me.

Why on earth does "particularly for the people having said child" have to be there? I suspect that the editors and author just rewrote the draft so many times and made numerous additions and then just forgot to delete the highlighted portion. Am I wrong?


1 Answer 1


No, the phrase is intentional an makes sense.

It is quite common to have an adverbial structure that give context to the entire main clause:

The adverb phrase "particularly for ..." is like this. It gives the context to let you know who "having a second child" is particularly hard on.

They have chosen a slightly odd way of phrasing, and I think there is an element of "tongue in cheek" about it. They're using a formal form of anaphoras, saying "said child", sounds like a legal expression. The whole idea is somewhat ironic; they are ironically suggesting that they had thought that the second child would be easy, or at least easier than the first. There is an element of self-deprecating humour.

And saying that it's hard for the parents is part of this. Paul gives a useful analogy "Predictions are hard, especially of the future." This is not entirely redundant. It is a commonly expressed idea that coping with becoming a brother or sister is difficult for the first child (who may be jealous etc). So saying it is also difficult on the parents is not completely redundant.

But there is no suggestion that this is a mistake, bad editing, or poorly expressed. It could be removed, and it wouldn't make much difference, but it's there on purpose.

  • 1
    I sense that the author was aiming for tongue in cheek, à la “Making predictions is hard. Especially about the future.” Commented Aug 19, 2023 at 1:29
  • 1
    It seems odd to me too, because obviously he means 'hard for the parents'. There's a mistake in his first sentence too - it should be For my wife and me, not I. Commented Aug 19, 2023 at 8:34
  • 1
    No, I meant that the whole phrase was unnecessary. "Having a second child is hard" obviously means "for the parents" - no-one would think it meant "for the aunts and uncles", for example! Commented Aug 19, 2023 at 11:30
  • 1
    I don't think it is "as you thought". You supposed it to be a mistake, and the result of sloppy editing. I say it is not a mistake. It could easily be changed to "on the first child" Yes the phrasing "for the people having said child" is a slightly odd phrasing - Sometimes people choose odd ways to express things. There is an element of what Paul calls "tongue in cheek"
    – James K
    Commented Aug 19, 2023 at 13:11
  • 1
    Anyway I've edited to focus on the aspects in your comments
    – James K
    Commented Aug 19, 2023 at 13:34

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .