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Is there a comma missing or something else wrong with this statement?
Thread poster: Marina Steinbach

Marina Steinbach  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:21
Member
English to German
+ ...
Jun 26, 2012

I have added the following sentence to my profile:

"I have both a German and US birth certificate and have the US citizenship."

Is there a comma missing or something else wrong with this statement?

Thanks for your assistance,

Marina


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svenfrade  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:21
French to German
+ ...
In my non-native opinion... Jun 26, 2012

the definite article should not be used here, but of course I may be wrong.

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David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 00:21
German to English
+ ...
Not sure Jun 26, 2012

I think I would say "I have both German and US birth certificates, and I have US citizenship" but this may be a question of style rather than grammar.

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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:21
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
In my native opinion ... Jun 26, 2012

inkweaver wrote:

the definite article should not be used here, but of course I may be wrong.


I agree. Leave out "the" before "US citizenship".
Jenny


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:21
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Another non-native's (but bilingual's) opinion Jun 26, 2012

Marina Steinbach wrote:
I have both a German and US birth certificate and have the US citizenship.
Is there a comma missing or something else wrong with this statement?


1. It is not "the citizinship" but simply citizenship.
2. I think "I have both German and US birth certificates" sounds slightly more natural, but I can't fault what you have there objectively.
3. If I understand the rule correctly, you can add a comma if you also an an "I" before the "and". Without the "I" the second sentence is not a complete sentence, and that affects whether it is acceptable to have a comma before the "and". However, I usually deal with South African English, in which commas are used more for pauses than for typographic purposes, so there would be a comma there in native non-professional South African English regardless of an extra "I".

Edited: wow, three typos... I really must get my morning coffee now.



[Edited at 2012-06-26 05:35 GMT]


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Amel Abdullah  Identity Verified
Jordan
Arabic to English
+ ...
Phrase it differently Jun 26, 2012

Speaking as someone from the U.S., I feel it sounds unnatural to talk about having birth certificates from a specific country. When I tell someone that I am a U.S. citizen, I do not also mention that I have a U.S. birth certificate, although I might say that I was born, raised, and educated in the United States.

I do not know what your specific situation is, but it seems that you may have been born in Germany. Are you also a citizen of this country? If so, I think it sounds more natural to say that you are a citizen of both Germany and the United States. Or you could, for example, say that you are a U.S. citizen who was born and raised in Germany. I would not, however, mention the birth certificates at all.


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2 birth certificates???? Jun 26, 2012

Dear Martina,

In the US, a "birth certificate" is issued by the authorities of the place where you were born, no matter what your citizenship is. It states where, when, who your parents were, single or multiple birth, and whatever extra information they choose to add, it may include nationality. But you can't have 2 birth certificates, since you were only born in one place. Your birth can be "registered" in other countries. The US BIRTH CERTIFICATE is unique. So it sounds funny to my native US ears, to hear that you have 2.

If you have German & US citizenship, why not write:

I have both German and US citizenship.
of course there is no "the" before citizenship in the sentence.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:21
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Your job description Jun 26, 2012

Marina Steinbach wrote:

I have added the following sentence to my profile:

"I have both a German and US birth certificate and have the US citizenship."

Is there a comma missing or something else wrong with this statement?

Thanks for your assistance,

Marina


If you're not sure about this you should not be saying that you translate into English.


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Gudrun Wolfrath  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:21
English to German
+ ...
Certificates (plural) Jun 26, 2012

as in "German and English languages" (singular in German, plural in English).

Gudrun


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:21
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Birth certificates from two countries Jun 26, 2012

Just out of curiosity, how do you manage to have birth certificates from two different countries?
You can only have been born once!


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Alison Sparks  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:21
French to English
+ ...
@ Jack Jun 26, 2012

Dead simple. Example: You are born in the UK to a French father and English mother. The birth has to be registered in the UK within a certain time limit, but your Father wants you to have a nationality choice so he registers that birth with the Embassy who then translate the original English certificate and send it to the central registry of overseas French national births (somewhere near Lyon I think)!

You are then entitled to have two birth certificates!!

@asker I agree with Jenny and Gudrun.

Have a nice day.


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Lori Cirefice  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:21
French to English
Consular report of birth Jun 26, 2012

Jack Doughty wrote:

Just out of curiosity, how do you manage to have birth certificates from two different countries?
You can only have been born once!


Both of my children have two birth records.


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Kirsten Bodart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:21
Dutch to English
+ ...
Agree with this Jun 26, 2012

Samuel Murray wrote:

Marina Steinbach wrote:
I have both a German and US birth certificate and have the US citizenship.
Is there a comma missing or something else wrong with this statement?


1. It is not "the citizinship" but simply citizenship.
2. I think "I have both German and US birth certificates" sounds slightly more natural, but I can't fault what you have there objectively.
3. If I understand the rule correctly, you can add a comma if you also an an "I" before the "and". Without the "I" the second sentence is not a complete sentence, and that affects whether it is acceptable to have a comma before the "and". However, I usually deal with South African English, in which commas are used more for pauses than for typographic purposes, so there would be a comma there in native non-professional South African English regardless of an extra "I".

Edited: wow, three typos... I really must get my morning coffee now.



[Edited at 2012-06-26 05:35 GMT]


'Certificates' in the plural indeed sounds better. And the 'the' before 'citizenship' should not be there, that's a bit German ('Ich habe die deutsche Staatsangehörigkeit').

Personally, I always try to avoid too much of the same construction. I would rephrase that sentence and say 'I have both German and US birth certificates and I am a US citizen' or something along those lines. Maybe you could incoporate the 'US citizenship' thing into another part of your profile so that you avoid the and and and (although there is nothing objectively wrong with it). An Oxford comma may help to break it up, although I gather that has officially been abolished (who cares?).

About the birth certificates:
Of course you can have two! In extreme cases you could probably even have three (thinking logically)! How would a family with two foreign nationals otherwise register their child in their consulate/embassy and in its birth country (which may not be the same as either of the parents' birth countries)? Wow, if I were to have a baby, it would have a Belgian birth cert, a UK one and a German one...


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:21
French to English
Have to agree Jun 26, 2012

Tom in London wrote:

Marina Steinbach wrote:

I have added the following sentence to my profile:

"I have both a German and US birth certificate and have the US citizenship."

Is there a comma missing or something else wrong with this statement?

Thanks for your assistance,

Marina


If you're not sure about this you should not be saying that you translate into English.


Or at least, while you're arguably free to offer whatever services you like (perhaps you have access to natives to read your paid work), you shouldn't be claiming you're a native speaker when you are evidently not.


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Cetacea  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 00:21
English to German
+ ...
Question of relevance Jun 26, 2012

Tom in London wrote:
If you're not sure about this you should not be saying that you translate into English.


I must say I agree with Tom. I also wonder how birth certificates are even relevant for a CV? U.S. citizenship--yes, but birth certificates?


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