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The phrase "one of Jehovah's Witnesses"


Guest Indiana
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Guest Indiana

I read this question at another site, it is interesting to me since as far as I know in Spanish we don't use that phrase: 

 

JWs don't say, "I am a Jehovah's Witness."

Instead, they say, "I am one of Jehovah's Witnesses."

What does the second way of saying it convey that the first does not?

In other words, why does the organization prefer the second formulation?

This isn't a teaser.

I really don't know the answer.

 

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The first one sounds just like a label, the  second sounds like the person is living the faith.

As Suzy says "A Jehovah's Witness" is grammatically wrong in English. And as Melinda points out it is a label. We are witnesses for Jehovah, we are HIS witnesses, plural. If we are talking about one person (singular) then he/she is either one of (all the other) Jehovah's Witnesses or "a witness for Jehovah". In some other languages it is grammatically wrong as well. For example how would you say in Spanish if someone asked in court whose witness are you. Would you say I am "John's witness", or "

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Either spanish or english doesn't make much of a difference, i might be wrong tho.

Perhaps when saying i am one of the JW insinuates you are one of many others JWs but when you say i am a JW doesnt imply the above.

But at the end of the day doesnt really matter which one is used! 

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@Jay Iza If English is not your first language then it may sound strange.  What is more strange is putting the indefinite article, "a" before a personal name.  As in "a Jay's witness".  As I type this, my computer is correcting the phrase by striking out the a.  I guess the only reason it doesn't when I type "a Jehovah's Witness" is because the term is recognised as a label now.  

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As Suzy says "A Jehovah's Witness" is grammatically wrong in English. And as Melinda points out it is a label. We are witnesses for Jehovah, we are HIS witnesses, plural. If we are talking about one person (singular) then he/she is either one of (all the other) Jehovah's Witnesses or "a witness for Jehovah". In some other languages it is grammatically wrong as well. For example how would you say in Spanish if someone asked in court whose witness are you. Would you say I am "John's witness", or "one of John's witnesses" (if there is more than one witness for John). Or would not say I am "a John's witness"?

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On 3/2/2019 at 8:47 PM, Jay Iza said:

Either spanish or english doesn't make much of a difference, i might be wrong tho.

Perhaps when saying i am one of the JW insinuates you are one of many others JWs but when you say i am a JW doesnt imply the above.

But at the end of the day doesnt really matter which one is used! 

Soy uno de los testigos de Jehová. It sounds weirder if you say it like this Soy testigo de Jehová.

But as long as you make it known as you are a witness, it should be bueno 😁

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Neither have I ever heard anyone say "I am one of the Witnesses of Jehovah".  It may not be grammatically wrong but it doesn't fit our speech patterns.  Non-Witnesses will ask us, "Are you a Jehovah's Witness?" because they use the term as a label, but most native English speakers will introduce/describe themselves as one of Jehovah's Witnesses.  Note, not "one of the Jehovah's Witnesses".  There's more to language than grammar, as I said in an earlier post.  There are patterns of speech and word order (syntax) that are picked up over time through conversation with native speakers and are more important than literal translations from whatever you are accustomed to saying in your own language.  

However, I will practice saying "soy un testigo de Jehova" for my next visit to South America.  So, thank you, Jay.

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