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I have 4 bags. In each bag, there is a same book.

I tried to rewrite this as one sentence, but I don't know if it is grammatically correct and if it conveys the same meaning.

I have 4 same books each in 4 bags.

I have 4 same books each in bag A, bag B, bag C, bag D respectively.

How would you normally say it?

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  • 2
    Same is definite and *a same N is ungrammatical.
    – user230
    Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 17:45

9 Answers 9

11

I would write this as:

I have four identical books, each in its own bag.

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  • 3
    Or just "each in a bag", which would be understood to mean the same thing since you'd just say "I have four identical books in a bag" if you meant that they were all in the same bag. Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 22:19
10

Normally you would say:

I have 4 bags, each containing the same book.

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  • Thank, but what if I want to put the books first?
    – yellow210
    Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 12:15
  • You wouldn't do that in English really. Or you might say, "I have 4 of the same books, one in each of the 4 bags." Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 12:17
  • "each containing the same book" . Should it be " each contains the same book" or "each is containing the same book" ?
    – yellow210
    Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 12:28
  • 2
    It should either be the suggestion in my answer OR "each contains the same book" but NOT "each is containing the same book". The "is" is not generally added when you are using the word "each" in this context. It's a common mistake, so don't worry about it :) Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 12:34
  • Oh so the phrase "each containing the same book" is an absolute phrase?
    – yellow210
    Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 12:51
5

I have the same book in each of these four bags.

(subject) I

(verb) have

(DO adjective) the same

(Direct Object) book

(prepositional phrase) in each

(prepositional phrase) of these four bags

4

Maybe you could write, "I have four copies of the same book, each in a bag."

Of course, this only implies that you have four bags. If you need to directly mention the fact that you have four bags, you might write something like, "I have four bags, and each has a copy of the same book."

In any case, using the word "copy" might help, since, as @ssdecontrol noted, the construction is pretty cumbersome. Sorry you can't just leave them as two sentences! :-)

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  • +1 This, in my opinion is the clearest and the most precise.
    – Jim
    Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 16:01
  • "I have four bagged copies of the book." would be more succinct, but less clear, I think. "Copies of the same book" seems a little redundant. Bagged as an adjective is awkward and only implies that the books are in separate bags through context, but it does shorten the sentence.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 20:51
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As a native (UK) English speaker I would say that you have a number of choices:

I have four copies of the same book, each in a separate bag.

Places the emphasis on the 4 books and clarifies that they are stored in separate bags. As does:

Here are four copies of the book, bagged separately.

While:

I have four bags each containing a copy of the book.

Emphasises the bags and assumes that the specific book is already defined in context. This might be used at a book launch to describe the door prizes and does not preclude there being other bags that contain other things nor there being other things in each bag.

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Three notes: First, your original sentence has the wrong article. Second, your additional sentences aren't using same properly (it's a weird word). Third, there are a couple ways to make this one sentence. See below.


First, note that the constructions you're using use the definite determiner/article (the) on books. So, instead of:

I have 4 bags. In each bag, there is a same book.

One would say

I have 4 bags. In each bag, there is the same book.

This is because the books have been mentioned before (in the first sentence of the example). See the Wikipedia page on definiteness.


Secondly, with your second sentence, the syntax of counters in English can be weird. For instance, the following is good:

I have 4 books.

But this is not good:

I have 4 same books.

This is because words preceding same require of the:

I have 4 books.

I have 4 of the same book.

I have ten dolls.

I have ten of the same doll.

Note also that nouns modified by of the are singular (book vs books)


Third, as you note, your original sentence sounds weird because it is strange to say something simple like it in two sentences. As others have pointed out, you could say something like:

I have four bags, each with the same book

However, this is also somewhat weird because you're emphasizing bags without discussing the book much. The bag sounds more important because it is first, but there isn't much about it. So, if the book is more important, I would say something like:

I have four copies of the same book in each of these bags.

I have four of the same book with each in a bag.

I have a copy in each of these four bags.


I would expect to hear I have four bags, each with the same book at a convention or something similar where people are getting free books in bags, and each bag might have a different book. So, if you're emphasizing you have four bags, but complaining you have the same books, then this sentence would be used.

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  • Why the downvote?
    – dantiston
    Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 1:47
0

I have 4 identical books in 4 bags.

I have 4 similar books in 4 bags.

I have 4 bags, each contains the same book.

I have 4 bags, each containing the same book.

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I would prefer

I have 4 same books each in bag A, bag B, bag C, bag D respectively.

or this can be written as

I have four same books each in four different bags.

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  • 1
    Good answers, but the use of the word "same" is peculiar. I understand that the original question uses this word, but really, the word "alike" makes more sense in this situation as it is uncommon to use "same" without contextualising it, e.g. "the same as", "of the same". This is because "same" is a definite descriptor, so needs "the", the definite article, in a standard situation. Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 12:24
  • 2
    I'm sorry but this is not correct English. Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 13:51
  • @ssdecontrol thanks . Where is it wrong ?
    – A. Prasad
    Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 13:55
  • 3
    You would have to say something like "I have four of the same book." The word "same" (as far as I can tell, as a native speaker) doesn't ever appear without "the," which is what @LewisHeslop wrote. Also, "each in four different bags" means "each book is contained in four different bags," which makes no sense -- it sounds like you ripped book into four pieces and put each piece in a separate bag. You would have to say something like "I have four of the same book, each in a different bag." But the whole construction is hard to parse and sounds cumbersome to me. Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 14:09
  • @ssdecontrol Actually, if you look at the edit history, the previous version of this answer contained better answers, I'm going to motion for a roll back. Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 14:21
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The correct form of the sentence

I have 4 bags. In each bag, there is a same book.

in your question entry is actually simple (assuming your listener is not a philosopher) and it should read as:

I have 4 bags. In each bag, I have the same book.

Some remarks:

(I) Existence of something under the possession of a person is expressed by using the verb "have":

  • I have a book in my bag.
  • He has a very nice car in his garden.
  • Do they have a house of their own?

(II) Existence of something that is not under the possession of a person is expressed by using an appropriate expression of the form "there + be":

  • There are two cats in the garden.
  • There has always been a strong wind in this town.
  • There were many trees here 20 years ago.
  • Are there any hospitals around here?

(III) The word "same" is always preceded by the definite article "the". If an indefinite noun is the same as a definite noun, it then becomes definite and therefore requires the use of the definite article "the" before it.

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