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Known to its considerable opposition as "Seward's Folly", the purchase

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Re: Known to its considerable opposition as "Seward's Folly", the purchase  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Mar 2019, 02:03
2asc wrote:
What does 'which' refer to? I feel like it is the purchase that gave the US land, not the territory. Also, the land cannot give US control of the river, but the purchase can.

Assuming that which is referred to the purchase, can someone please confirm that the touch rule does not apply when the noun is followed by prepositional phrase?
I'm not sure what you mean by the "touch rule", but there is no rule in English that restricts what a relative pronoun can refer to in situations like this one. For example:

The last goal of the match, which...

1. The last goal of the match, which had gone into overtime...
2. The last goal of the match, which was scored by...

Both (1) and (2) are acceptable.
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Re: Known to its considerable opposition as "Seward's Folly", the purchase  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Mar 2019, 14:36
AjiteshArun wrote:
2asc wrote:
What does 'which' refer to? I feel like it is the purchase that gave the US land, not the territory. Also, the land cannot give US control of the river, but the purchase can.

Assuming that which is referred to the purchase, can someone please confirm that the touch rule does not apply when the noun is followed by prepositional phrase?
I'm not sure what you mean by the "touch rule", but there is no rule in English that restricts what a relative pronoun can refer to in situations like this one. For example:

The last goal of the match, which...

1. The last goal of the match, which had gone into overtime...
2. The last goal of the match, which was scored by...

Both (1) and (2) are acceptable.


Doesn't which usually refer to the word right before the comma? If both cases are correct, how do we decipher if both examples you gave are in the options?
From my understanding of OA of this question, if the structure of the sentence is noun + prepositional, 'which' will reference the noun before the prepositional, and not the noun within the prepositional. Are you sure the two are interchangeable?
Thanks for your help!
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Re: Known to its considerable opposition as "Seward's Folly", the purchase  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Mar 2019, 14:40
VeritasKarishma

Hi Karishma! Do you mind looking at my response above and clarify my confusion? Thanks!
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Re: Known to its considerable opposition as "Seward's Folly", the purchase  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Mar 2019, 19:48
2asc wrote:
Doesn't which usually refer to the word right before the comma? If both cases are correct, how do we decipher if both examples you gave are in the options?
From my understanding of OA of this question, if the structure of the sentence is noun + prepositional, 'which' will reference the noun before the prepositional, and not the noun within the prepositional. Are you sure the two are interchangeable?
Thanks for your help!
I'd appreciate it if you could let me know what the "touch rule" is. That will help me better answer your question (I interpreted your "please confirm that the touch rule does not apply when the noun is followed by prepositional phrase" question as "please confirm that a which can refer to a noun that is not literally 'touching' the which"). Meanwhile, to get an idea of how messy relative pronouns can get, you could take a look at this post.

Generally speaking, if there are multiple nouns before a relative pronoun in an option, we may need to take that option out for ambiguity (after checking the other options). That does not mean, however, that there is a "rule" restricting what the which can refer to. If you are asking whether I am sure about that, I am. :)
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Re: Known to its considerable opposition as "Seward's Folly", the purchase  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Mar 2019, 20:32
AjiteshArun wrote:
2asc wrote:
Doesn't which usually refer to the word right before the comma? If both cases are correct, how do we decipher if both examples you gave are in the options?
From my understanding of OA of this question, if the structure of the sentence is noun + prepositional, 'which' will reference the noun before the prepositional, and not the noun within the prepositional. Are you sure the two are interchangeable?
Thanks for your help!
I'd appreciate it if you could let me know what the "touch rule" is. That will help me better answer your question (I interpreted your "please confirm that the touch rule does not apply when the noun is followed by prepositional phrase" question as "please confirm that a which can refer to a noun that is not literally 'touching' the which"). Meanwhile, to get an idea of how messy relative pronouns can get, you could take a look at this post.

Generally speaking, if there are multiple nouns before a relative pronoun in an option, we may need to take that option out for ambiguity (after checking the other options). That does not mean, however, that there is a "rule" restricting what the which can refer to. If you are asking whether I am sure about that, I am. :)


Thanks for the link! I understand that it is okay to reach behind the prepositional, given that there is compelling reason to do so.
In terms of this question, is there sufficient reason to assume that 'the purchase' gave US land? I understand that the OA is the most correct answer (through POE), but I don't think I can automatically justify the reach-over.
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Known to its considerable opposition as "Seward's Folly", the purchase  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Mar 2019, 04:18
2asc wrote:
What does 'which' refer to? I feel like it is the purchase that gave the US land, not the territory. Also, the land cannot give US control of the river, but the purchase can.


Well, for what it's worth (since it seems to be an unofficial question), one could argue that the purchase was that of Louisiana territory, and this territory provided the United States with new land, a strategic military position, and control of the entire Mississippi River valley.

For example, it would be perfectly find to say that US purchased Alaska and Alaska gave US, access to vast oil reserves (the purchase gave US, access to vast oil reserves would be fine as well).
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Known to its considerable opposition as "Seward's Folly", the purchase   [#permalink] 18 Mar 2019, 04:18

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