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pronoun in modifier

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pronoun in modifier  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Oct 2016, 03:59
dear experts,
would you please clarify that pronoun in modifier is always incorrect?

for example:
The book that I read it yesterday was exciting-- pronoun "it" is redundant, because that stands for "the book", it stands for "the" book as well, -- incorrect

is the following sentence correct?
IMO , it is correct, but I am not sure, so I desire your confirmation
Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the world, but those who try to count them have found about five thousand.

in this sentence, second clause's subject is those, modifier is who try to count them, and there is no any redundant in the second clause, so IMO, pronoun them is correct.
please confirm.



so silly question,
thanks for your patient.

have a nice day
>_~
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New post 05 Oct 2016, 10:20
zoezhuyan wrote:
dear experts,
would you please clarify that pronoun in modifier is always incorrect?

for example:
The book that I read it yesterday was exciting-- pronoun "it" is redundant, because that stands for "the book", it stands for "the" book as well, -- incorrect

is the following sentence correct?
IMO , it is correct, but I am not sure, so I desire your confirmation
Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the world, but those who try to count them have found about five thousand.

in this sentence, second clause's subject is those, modifier is who try to count them, and there is no any redundant in the second clause, so IMO, pronoun them is correct.
please confirm.



so silly question,
thanks for your patient.

have a nice day
>_~

Dear zoezhuyan,
My friend, I'm happy to help. :-)

My friend, math is full of "big rules," rules that apply over a wide variety of circumstances, but grammar has precious few "big rules." The topic of "pronouns in modifiers" is vast and absolutely no categorical rule could be given for it.

Very specifically, in a relative clause that begins with a relative pronoun (that, which, who, whom, . . .) , it always would be incorrect to use a second pronoun for the same antecedent, in addition to the first pronoun. That's a extremely specific condition. We certainly could have other pronouns in the modifier:
George Washington was a much beloved president but there's a new book that portrays him as a cowardly.
You see? A pronoun for a completely different antecedent is perfectly fine.

Also, relative clauses are the only kind of noun modifiers that begin with pronoun. Participles can also be noun modifiers, and there's no general rule for whether pronouns are or aren't allowed in participial phrases.

The sentence you quoted is reminiscent of OG2014 SC #93. This is what the OG has in the OA:
Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the world, but those who try to count have found about five thousand.
That's 100% correct and elegant. What if we stick in the pronoun?
Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the world, but those who try to count them have found about five thousand
This is also correct, and I would say this could be an OA on the GMAT as well. You see, the fact that the "those" is the subject of both verb ("count" and "have found") suggests that the "them" is another group, and in particular, the logical parallelism between the two halves of the sentence reinforce this: in both cases, people are the subjects and languages are the objects of study. This creates a deep parallelism holding the sentence together. You see, students often think that parallelism is a grammatical structure. It's not. It's a logical structure, and the grammar simply has to make the logic clear.

Does all this make sense, my friend?

Have a lovely day!

Mike :-)
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pronoun in modifier  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Oct 2016, 13:52
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I'm not even totally sure that's right! For instance, this sentence is probably grammatical, according to the GMAT:

'The book, which had a portrait of George Washington on its cover, was very dull.'

Two pronouns, same antecedent, one is inside of a modifier introduced by the other.

For what it's worth, I've also never heard that cited as a grammar rule, and I've never noticed it being tested on the GMAT. There's a somewhat complicated syntactic reason why the original example is wrong, but there might also be a simpler explanation. You can definitely think about it in terms of concision - since 'The book that I read yesterday was exciting' is grammatical, then you don't want to add in extra words that add nothing to the meaning.
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Re: pronoun in modifier  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Oct 2016, 10:39
1
ccooley wrote:
I'm not even totally sure that's right! For instance, this sentence is probably grammatical, according to the GMAT:

'The book, which had a portrait of George Washington on its cover, was very dull.'

Two pronouns, same antecedent, one is inside of a modifier introduced by the other.

For what it's worth, I've also never heard that cited as a grammar rule, and I've never noticed it being tested on the GMAT. There's a somewhat complicated syntactic reason why the original example is wrong, but there might also be a simpler explanation. You can definitely think about it in terms of concision - since 'The book that I read yesterday was exciting' is grammatical, then you don't want to add in extra words that add nothing to the meaning.

Dear Chesley,
Kudos, my brilliant colleague!

Yes, to make a truly reliable rule, it's true that we would have to specify even further. In a relative clause, the relative pronoun always has a particular grammatical role (what would be known in Latin as the "case" of the pronoun). Thus, it is always wrong to use a second pronoun for the same grammatical role to duplicate that role within the clause--e.g. a double subject or a double object.

Examples:
This is my friend who he wrote a book. = double subject
This is the book that I read it. = double direct object
This is my friend to whom I lent the book to him. = double indirect object
This is more that simply a matter of concision. This is egregiously wrong, and wrong 100% of the time.

What I really want my friend zoezhuyan to understand that this very specific version is a completely clear rule, but because these sentence all would sound gratingly wrong to native ears, something of this sort never would be tested on the GMAT. The GMAT excels at creating wrong versions that sound plausible to native ears. That's the paradox about grammatical rules. The grammar rules that are the clearest are (a) extremely specific, and (b) so obvious to native speakers that the GMAT would never test it.

To Chelsey, I want to express my respect as a colleague. To zoezhuyan, I want to say: if you have any further questions, please let us know.

Mike :-)
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New post 07 Oct 2016, 22:13
thanks Mike,
so glad to get your reply
mikemcgarry wrote:
Examples:
This is my friend who he wrote a book. = double subject
This is the book that I read it. = double direct object
This is my friend to whom I lent the book to him. = double indirect object
This is more that simply a matter of concision. This is egregiously wrong, and wrong 100% of the time.


these examples are easier to understand,
BTY, can I view these examples as redundant? as my thought in the first thread.

mikemcgarry wrote:
What I really want my friend zoezhuyan to understand that this very specific version is a completely clear rule, but because these sentence all would sound gratingly wrong to native ears, something of this sort never would be tested on the GMAT. The GMAT excels at creating wrong versions that sound plausible to native ears. That's the paradox about grammatical rules. The grammar rules that are the clearest are (a) extremely specific, and (b) so obvious to native speakers that the GMAT would never test it.


Mike :-)


Mike, this is a simple version from OG16, SC # 103, the original version is :
Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the world, partly because of the difficulty of distinguishing between a language and the sublanguages or dialects within it, but those who have tried to count typically have found about five thousand.
(A) and the sublanguages or dialects within it, but those who have tried to count typically have found
(B) and the sublanguages or dialects within them, with those who have tried counting typically finding
(C) and the sublanguages or dialects within it, but those who have tried counting it typically find
(D) or the sublanguages or dialects within them, but those who tried to count them typically found
(E) or the sublanguages or dialects within them, with those who have tried to count typically finding

when I read the explanation of C from OA,
OA wrote:
The second appearance of it, referring to world languages, is incorrect because it does not agree in number with languages.

an question occurred in my mind, according to this explanation, I got an idea that pronoun in modifier of 2nd sentence is correct, in other hand, a pronoun in modifier is acceptable if no redundant,
then I should change my former idea that pronoun in modifier is always incorrect is incorrect,
I was not sure whether it is the test point, so posting the topic to implore confirmation.


have a nice day
>_~
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New post 07 Oct 2016, 22:31
ccooley wrote:
I'm not even totally sure that's right! For instance, this sentence is probably grammatical, according to the GMAT:

'The book, which had a portrait of George Washington on its cover, was very dull.'

Two pronouns, same antecedent, one is inside of a modifier introduced by the other.

For what it's worth, I've also never heard that cited as a grammar rule, and I've never noticed it being tested on the GMAT. There's a somewhat complicated syntactic reason why the original example is wrong, but there might also be a simpler explanation. You can definitely think about it in terms of concision - since 'The book that I read yesterday was exciting' is grammatical, then you don't want to add in extra words that add nothing to the meaning.


thanks Chelsey,

it expanded my thinking.
actually it is simple version of OG 16 # 103,
OG16, # 103 wrote:
Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the world, partly because of the difficulty of distinguishing between a language and the sublanguages or dialects within it, but those who have tried to count typically have found about five thousand.
(A) and the sublanguages or dialects within it, but those who have tried to count typically have found
(B) and the sublanguages or dialects within them, with those who have tried counting typically finding
(C) and the sublanguages or dialects within it, but those who have tried counting it typically find
(D) or the sublanguages or dialects within them, but those who tried to count them typically found
(E) or the sublanguages or dialects within them, with those who have tried to count typically finding


compared with those five options, pronoun occurs in B,C,D,
and OA for C
OA wrote:
The second appearance of it, referring to world languages, is incorrect because it does not agree in number with languages.


above these two point, I guess that pronoun in modifier is a test point, although this point not mentioned in MANHATTAN SC,
but I am not sure whether it is a real test point.

if it is not the test point,
any suggestion how to deep-practice the OG questions,
I figured out I there are more tips than OA explanations mentions,
seems I cannot catch the test point now.

thanks a lot.
have a nice day
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New post 08 Oct 2016, 09:41
zoezhuyan wrote:
ccooley wrote:
I'm not even totally sure that's right! For instance, this sentence is probably grammatical, according to the GMAT:
thanks Chelsey,

it expanded my thinking.
actually it is simple version of OG 16 # 103,
OG16, # 103 wrote:
Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the world, partly because of the difficulty of distinguishing between a language and the sublanguages or dialects within it, but those who have tried to count typically have found about five thousand.
(A) and the sublanguages or dialects within it, but those who have tried to count typically have found
(B) and the sublanguages or dialects within them, with those who have tried counting typically finding
(C) and the sublanguages or dialects within it, but those who have tried counting it typically find
(D) or the sublanguages or dialects within them, but those who tried to count them typically found
(E) or the sublanguages or dialects within them, with those who have tried to count typically finding


Interesting! I know that problem, but I didn't recognize it in your example. The reason (C) is wrong actually isn't because it has a pronoun within a modifier. There's nothing wrong with having a pronoun in that position. For example, if it said 'those who have tried counting them typically find...', that would be okay.

The problem with C is a lot simpler than that. In C, the second 'it' in 'counting it' is logically talking about languages. You just figure that out by thinking about the meaning of the sentence: what is it that people are counting? They're counting the languages in the world! The problem is, languages is plural and it is singular. And there's a grammar rule that says that pronouns have to match (in number) with the thing they're talking about.
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New post 08 Oct 2016, 14:05
zoezhuyan wrote:
Mike, this is a simple version from OG16, SC # 103, the original version is :
Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the world, partly because of the difficulty of distinguishing between a language and the sublanguages or dialects within it, but those who have tried to count typically have found about five thousand.
(A) and the sublanguages or dialects within it, but those who have tried to count typically have found
(B) and the sublanguages or dialects within them, with those who have tried counting typically finding
(C) and the sublanguages or dialects within it, but those who have tried counting it typically find
(D) or the sublanguages or dialects within them, but those who tried to count them typically found
(E) or the sublanguages or dialects within them, with those who have tried to count typically finding


when I read the explanation of C from OA,
The second appearance of it, referring to world languages, is incorrect because it does not agree in number with languages.

an question occurred in my mind, according to this explanation, I got an idea that pronoun in modifier of 2nd sentence is correct, in other hand, a pronoun in modifier is acceptable if no redundant,
then I should change my former idea that pronoun in modifier is always incorrect is incorrect,
I was not sure whether it is the test point, so posting the topic to implore confirmation.

have a nice day
>_~

Dear zoezhuyan,

I see you received another good response from my brilliant colleague Chesley, but I will add a few thoughts as well. ;-)

My friend, be extremely cautious about deducing grammar rules of your own. If the OE says one answer choice is wrong, and then you create a new wrong reason about why it is wrong, you significantly compound your mistake. It is always 100% better to ask one of the experts here for a detailed explanation why something is wrong, rather than to deduce a pattern on your own. Does this make sense, my friend?

Here's (C):
...and the sublanguages or dialects within it, but those who have tried counting it typically find ...
Notice that the first "it" is 100% correct, even though it's part of a clause. The second "it" is not correct purely because of an issue of pronoun-antecedent agreement. Singular pronouns can't represent plural antecedents, and vice versa--that is a real rule, and one that the GMAT tests often! If we changed the second "it" to "them," then (C) would be correct. The only problem is the singular/plural mismatch.

The trouble with any kind of "pronouns in modifiers" rule is that it is absurdly too broad. It would be like the absurd rule, "All people with black hair are bad people." Well, I have black hair, and perhaps you do as well, and I don't think we are bad people at all. Many people with black hair are very good people, but some are not so good people: I might cite Benito Mussolini or Idi Amin or Pol Pot as less savory examples. Overall, the rule is neither true nor false: it's simply far too broad to be at all meaningful.

Mathematics lends itself to extremely broad patterns that are true. Human language, like the behaviors of real human peoples, has very few broad patterns that are true; instead, it's a field littered with exceptions and partial patterns that contradict each other.

Zoe Zhuan, I appreciate all your earnest questions and I genuinely want to help you learn. Have a wonderful weekend, my friend!

Mike :-)
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New post 08 Oct 2016, 21:21
mikemcgarry wrote:
My friend, be extremely cautious about deducing grammar rules of your own. If the OE says one answer choice is wrong, and then you create a new wrong reason about why it is wrong, you significantly compound your mistake. It is always 100% better to ask one of the experts here for a detailed explanation why something is wrong, rather than to deduce a pattern on your own. Does this make sense, my friend?

Mike :-)


thanks so much Mike,

i will follow it. :-D
have a nice day
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New post 08 Oct 2016, 21:34
ccooley wrote:
You just figure that out by thinking about the meaning of the sentence: what is it that people are counting? They're counting the languages in the world! The problem is, languages is plural and it is singular. And there's a grammar rule that says that pronouns have to match (in number) with the thing they're talking about.

thanks so much Chesley,

I totally understand meaning is more important than grammar.
recently, I try to switch "rules" to overall meaning, unfortunately, it spends more time if i make it clearing intended meaning and combine grammar.

:oops: :oops: :oops:
I will continue to switch,
appreciate if provide some advices.

have a nice day
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