Sentence: "My parents have a total of six sons, plus me"

Hi, please have a look at this sentence:

He said: “My parents have a total of six sons, plus me. And later, two more sons.”

=> How do you understand it? Does the writer mean the parents have six sons includes him? or does he mean the parents have sons, and he’s the seventh?

Many thanks

Hi Nessie,

The two sentences don’t really make sense together. Where did you get them from? Are you sure the speaker is not a woman? If that’s the case, it would have to be

“My parents have a total of six sons and me (myself). After I was born, there were two more sons.”

I think it works quite well if “me” is a girl. Seven children - six sons and a daughter.

Were you (also) referring to the second sentence, Barb? I’d agree with Ralf that it doesn’t seem to work well with the first sentence – at least not without some sort of further context that might justify it. I suppose it might be an example of the ‘historical present’, but out of context, it seems odd.

Oh, hush my mouth. Somehow I missed the entire second part. No, of course, saying you have a total of 6 and then saying 2 more sounds highly unnatural.

Maybe the original writer/speaker wanted to emphasize the enormity of six sons in a row and incorrectly chose “a total” to do so?


Oh, I’m terribly sorry, Amy and Barb and Ralf :slight_smile: I just hope you won’t be angry with me as I did change the “she said” into “he said” :stuck_out_tongue: (just to see how you’ll understand the sentence :P)

Actually, this sentence is cited from the fiction “the thorn birds” - not exactly as I can no longer remember it very well, but it is mostly like this:

Meggie said: “When we first arrived at Drogheda, my parents had a total of six sons, plus me. And later, two more sons”
Of course, with the phrase “when we first arrived a Drogheda”, the sentence make sense now, doesn’t it?

Actually, I doubted about the meaning of “plus me” in the sentence. It strike me first with the meaning that Meggie’s parents had 6 sons, and she was the 7th child, but then I remembered they had only 5 sons. And according to the fiction, Meggie was forgotten in her childhood, and was considered just as one of the boys, so I wondered if the author wanted to express that idea. However, later I realized that I had forgot Hal - the seven boy who had died very young. Now I got the point very clear.
Thank you so much and sorry for my bad memory :stuck_out_tongue:

Hi Nessie

Your original sentence can only mean that Meggie was one of 9 children; Meggie had 6 older brothers, and 2 younger brothers. However, whether or not all 6 of her older brothers were still alive when Meggie was born, and/or how long each of her brothers lived is not a detail I remember about the book.