spacer234 wrote:Thanks for your answer, but Im not sure if I understand you correctly. Can you please explain me what will happen to the meaning of "second" if "picture" turns to "pictures" in the sentence?:
"I saw your pictures and I could tell from the second I saw it it's not Mr. X."
Can "second" mean here the Person saw it was not Mr. X. on the second picture or can it still only mean he saw it was not Mr. X. in the Moment he saw the one and only picture?
Okay, I'm going to go through this one more time. For the sake of simplicity and clarity I'm going to use some grammatical terminology. If you don't understand it, please look it up or ask for clarification.
Here is your original sentence:
"I saw your picture and I could tell from the second I saw it it´s not Mr. X."
Let's break it into clauses:I saw your pictureI could tell from the second I saw itit's not Mr X
The first and last clause don't seem to be causing any trouble. The "it" in the last refers back to "your picture" in the first. (There's actually a bit of metonomy involved between the picture itself and Mr X, but that's not important.)
You seem to think that the second clause could be interpreted in such a way that "second" here could refer to the second of two pictures. To see why this is not so, let's expand "second" to "second picture" and "it" (which, like the last "it", refers back to "your picture") to "your picture". Let's also insert the understood relative pronoun "that". Here's the result:
*"I could tell from the second picture that I saw your picture"
Can you not see the problem here? This is the "one verb, two direct objects" problem I mentioned several posts ago. If "it" (representing "your picture") is the direct object of "saw", then "that" (representing "the second picture") cannot also be the direct object as well. That's simply not how relative clauses work in English (although the rules are different for other languages). If "second" refers back to "your picture", then there's no reason to have another pronoun also referring back to it. The sentence would simply be:
"I could tell from the second [picture] [that] I saw"
Do you see that? The direct object of "saw" is "that", which refers back to "the second [picture]". Both "picture" and "that" can be left out and supplied by context.
However, it is possible for a clause to have both a direct object and a time expression. For instance:
"I saw it that second"
This is the equivalent of "I saw it at
that second". "That second" isn't another object, even though it might look like one. And that's the situation you have. The "that" in "I could tell from the second that I saw it" takes the place of a time expression ("[at] the second"), not a direct object. This is how we know that "the second" must
be interpreted in the sense of "moment" and not "the latter of two".
spacer234 wrote:BTW: Im talking about a sentence I read, it is no speech.
I understand that. My point is that this is a colloquial sentence, i.e. one that is written very close to the way that it would be spoken in ordinary conversation. Formal written English is a different register where different rules apply. In that register, it's common to say "the second", "the latter" [as I did above], and so forth. But other features of that register include not dropping relative pronouns, avoiding contractions, and other rules which aren't being followed in your example.
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons