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Here's what I have been able to think out:

Just can't write a normal way...

1. One centurion from an elephant chopped off the arm also called the trunk.

2. One centurion chopped off an elephant's arm also called the trunk.

In general, can one chop off something from something: chop a branch off from a tree?

Thanks in advance.
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Yes, but an elephant's trunk is not an arm.

One centurian chopped off an elephant's trunk.
Elephants don't have arms, they have legs and trunks.
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«Yes, but an elephant's trunk is not an arm.»

Ancient Romans seem to have called it an arm, then providing a more correct name for the reader to understand which part is called "trunk".

So, what's with #1? Incorrect or just sounds terrible?
Oh I see, are you translating something written by a Roman?

The problem with 1) is the 'centurian from an elephant chopped' part. This is saying that the centurian was from an elephant, not that the arm was from the elephant.
Hi,

In general, can one chop off something from something: chop a branch off from a tree?

Simply put, no. One chops something off something.

Best wishes, Clive
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«I see, are you translating something written by a Roman?»

Actually, I'm just thinking how I can translate some selected sentences. This one is from a warfare manual by a Roman.

«Simply put, no. One chops something off something.»

Ok, so what about:

3. Off an elephant one centurion chopped the arm, also called the trunk.

What I want is to put more emphasis on the elephant than on the centurion or the elephant's trunk. The text considers various techniques useful against battle elephants. Can I somehow change the sentence in this direction?

EDIT: why centuri((a))n?
Hi,

Ok, so what about:

3. Off an elephant one centurion chopped the arm, also called the trunk.

What I want is to put more emphasis on the elephant than on the centurion or the elephant's trunk. <<< Your unusual word-order does that successfully.


EDIT: why centuri((a))n? It's not 'centurian', it's 'centurion'.

Best wishes, Clive
Ant_222«I see, are you translating something written by a Roman?» Actually, I'm just thinking how I can translate some selected sentences. This one is from a warfare manual by a Roman. «Simply put, no. One chops something off something.» Ok, so what about: 3. Off an elephant one centurion chopped the arm, also called the trunk. What I want is to put more emphasis on the elephant than on the centurion or the elephant's trunk. The text considers various techniques useful against battle elephants. Can I somehow change the sentence in this direction? EDIT: why centuri((a))n?
Here is my two cents' wildest shot:

It was off an elephant that one centurion chopped the arm, which was also called the trunk.
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