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Sentence from an article in The Economist- can some please explain?

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Sentence from an article in The Economist- can some please explain?  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Sep 2017, 07:24
"Investors are overlooking two shortcomings in China’s approach. The first is the nature of top-down diktats about supply, which lack flexibility and therefore tend to generate volatile outcomes"

Shouldn't it be "lacks flexibility and therefore tends to generate.."?
What does the ",which" refer to? Is it not the "nature"?

From the way the sentence is written I'm assuming the plural form of "lack" and "tend" refers to "diktats" but I just don't know how to justify that.

Can someone please explain? Trying to understand the role of ",which" after a prepositional clause.

Thanks!
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Re: Sentence from an article in The Economist- can some please explain?  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Sep 2017, 08:34
1
SKas07 wrote:
"Investors are overlooking two shortcomings in China’s approach. The first is the nature of top-down diktats about supply, which lack flexibility and therefore tend to generate volatile outcomes"

Shouldn't it be "lacks flexibility and therefore tends to generate.."?
What does the ",which" refer to? Is it not the "nature"?

From the way the sentence is written I'm assuming the plural form of "lack" and "tend" refers to "diktats" but I just don't know how to justify that.

Can someone please explain? Trying to understand the role of ",which" after a prepositional clause.

Thanks!
You're right that which refers to diktats. Think about it: the nature cannot be expected to lack flexibility, nor can supply. Therefore, we're left with diktats as the logical noun for which.

The comma after supply is expected, as we want to use which to talk about diktats in general. If we did not use a comma and went with (let's say) that, we would be referring to some very specific diktats.

Diktats, which... (all diktats)
The diktats that... (particular diktats)
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Re: Sentence from an article in The Economist- can some please explain?  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Sep 2017, 09:57
SKas07 wrote:
Can someone please explain? Trying to understand the role of ",which" after a prepositional clause.

Hi SKas07, prepositional phrase has no role to play in what which modifies.

In other words, if the construct was which lacks.., then which would have modified supply.

p.s. Our book EducationAisle Sentence Correction Nirvana discusses modifier issues of "which", their application and examples in significant detail. If someone is interested, PM me your email-id; I can mail the corresponding section.
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Re: Sentence from an article in The Economist- can some please explain? &nbs [#permalink] 13 Sep 2017, 09:57
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