There is a sentence:

Третий сидящий за столом - доминиканец...

The question is: do I need a comma after "третий"? There could be 2 variants of interpretation of the sentence's structure:

  1. "Третий" is a subject and "сидящий за столом" is participial clause, there is a need for comma
  2. "Сидящий за столом" is the subject, "третий" is an attributive adjective, no need for a comma

Which case here is then correct?

  • 3
    It all depends on what you want to say. "Третий сидящий за столом - доминиканец." means there are people sitting at the table. The third one there is a Dominican. "Третий, сидящий за столом, - доминиканец." means that you are talking about some people. The third one is a Dominican, who sits at the table. – DK. Jan 20 '20 at 5:33
  • Either this: Второй сидящий за столом — китаец. Третий сидящий за столом — доминиканец. Or: Второй, лежащий на диване, — китаец. Третий, сидящий за столом, — доминиканец. – Curiosity Jan 21 '20 at 1:51
  • But he is talking only about the third person. he is not interested in other people, can't you see the obvious thing? – V.V. Jan 21 '20 at 9:02

Третий сидящий за столом - доминиканец (Сидящий за столом is a subject) Третий, сидящий за столом, - доминиканец ( Третий is a subject)

Our famous linguist Rosental says that both sentences are correct and valid, the sentence is not unique. Such cases occur when there is a possibility of substantivization of an attribute,both subjects being substantivized. He gives another example.

Вон тот средний играет лучше других (тот - определение, средний - субстантивированное прилагательное subject)

Вон тот, средний, играет лучше других (тот- субстантивированное местоимение subject,средний - определение)

paragraf 92

  • But they'd be two different sentences, as pointed out by @DK in a comment. "Третий сидящий за столом" implies there are three or more people sitting at the table; "третий, сидящий за столом" implies there are three or more people, the third-mentioned of whom is distinguishable by sitting at the table. – Nikolay Ershov Jan 20 '20 at 13:51
  • But that does not change the fact that the third person is sitting at the table, and he is of the mentioned above nationality. Are we interested in the context? we do not have it. The environment is different, but the sentences are valid. – V.V. Jan 20 '20 at 16:34
  • But it's not the same as "вот тот средний" vs. "вот тот, средний" which mean the same thing. – Nikolay Ershov Jan 20 '20 at 16:42
  • By the way, in the first sentence the invironment or the setting may be the same in both variants as well. All the people may sit at the table. but let me remind you again that we are not talking about the context. – V.V. Jan 21 '20 at 8:57

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