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  1. #1
    jirikoo is offline Member
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    Default just checking my spell checker :)

    I have always thought this sentence is correct:
    This is one of the activities that is not suitable for everyone.

    But lately, my spell checker (i know its not foolproof) warned me about a mistake in this sentence suggesting:

    This is one of the activities that are not suitable for everyone.


    Which segment of the noun phrase "one of the activities" is the defining factor for the main verb designation in relative clauses?

    cheers guys

  2. #2
    Pedroski is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: just checking my spell checker :)

    This is one of the activities that is not suitable for everyone.

    That is a singular pronoun. Its plural is those. So if it were the pronoun form of activities, you would have to write:

    '* This is one of the activities those are not suitable for everyone.' Which is not good!!!

    'that' refers to 'one' is singular and takes 'is' as its verb complement.

  3. #3
    jirikoo is offline Member
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    Default Re: just checking my spell checker :)

    excuse me, pedroski?


    I am not sure if u caught the substance of my inquiry.

    I'm talking about relative clauses here. You can easily replace the defining relative pronoun "that" with another defining relative pronoun "which".

    So my question is:

    This is one of the activities which is not suitable for everyone.

    or

    This is one of the activities which are not suitable for everyone.

  4. #4
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: just checking my spell checker :)

    Quote Originally Posted by jirikoo View Post
    excuse me, pedroski?


    I am not sure if u caught the substance of my inquiry.

    I'm talking about relative clauses here. You can easily replace the defining relative pronoun "that" with another defining relative pronoun "which".

    So my question is:

    This is one of the activities which is not suitable for everyone.

    or

    This is one of the activities which are not suitable for everyone.
    If there are several activities, all of which are not suitable for everyone, and this is one of them, use "are". If there are several activities only one of which is not suitable, use "is". I think both "is" and "are" are acceptable, it depends on how you see the meaning of the sentence.

  5. #5
    Pedroski is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: just checking my spell checker :)

    Yeah, got that wrong, must still be jet-lagged ( he said lamely). That as a relative pronoun can be plural.

    It does however refer to one, not to activities. 'Activities', as the complement of the preposition 'of' is part of an adjunct, can be left out, and is not the noun to which the pronoun that refers.

    This is one that is not suitable for everyone.

  6. #6
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: just checking my spell checker :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedroski View Post
    Yeah, got that wrong, must still be jet-lagged ( he said lamely). That as a relative pronoun can be plural.

    It does however refer to one, not to activities. 'Activities', as the complement of the preposition 'of' is part of an adjunct, can be left out, and is not the noun to which the pronoun that refers.

    This is one that is not suitable for everyone.
    I disagree that that has to be the meaning.
    This is one of the activities that are not suitable for everyone. is a correct sentence.
    Of the activities that are not suitable for everyone, this is one.
    'This' already has its verb 'is'.
    Neon is one of those gases that are inert. Others are argon, xenon ...
    Pedroski is one of the posters who like to answer grammar questions.
    Others are Raymott ...

    Bungy jumping is one of the activities that are not suitable for everyone. Others are bull riding and white water rafting.

    The complement of the preposition 'of' is "the activities that are not suitable for everyone".


  7. #7
    Pedroski is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: just checking my spell checker :)

    *This is one of the activities that are not suitable for everyone.

    Lets assume, just for fun, that 'This' refers, from earlier discourse to 'reading'.

    *Reading is one of the activities that are not suitable for everyone.

    Still want to stick with are? Of the activities is an adjunct, because I can remove it without losing the grammaticality or sense of the sentence.

  8. #8
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: just checking my spell checker :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedroski View Post
    *This is one of the activities that are not suitable for everyone.

    Lets assume, just for fun, that 'This' refers, from earlier discourse to 'reading'.
    Ok, but let's do it for pedagogical reasons as well.
    *Reading is one of the activities that are not suitable for everyone.

    Still want to stick with are?
    If that is the meaning.

    Of the activities is an adjunct, because I can remove it without losing the grammaticality or sense of the sentence.
    What I said was that it can be "is" or "are" depending on the meaning.
    (Actually I said "I disagree that that has to be the meaning.").

    You can remove parts of the sentence, but you get a different sentence with a different meaning.
    A: We have two kinds of activities: those that suitable for anyone, and those that are not suitable for everyone.
    B: What about reading? What kind of activity is that?
    (What group does reading fit into).
    A: Reading is one of the activities that are not suitable for everyone.
    (It fits into the group of activities that are not suitable for everyone).

    A could have said: "Reading is one of the activities that is not suitable for everyone." But the meaning would be different. Certainly, it would give B the information he wants, but not by directly answering B's question.
    If A had said "Reading is not suitable for everyone", B would also have his information. But B would be justified in assuming that reading was one of the activities that were not suitable for everyone.

    What if we use "those" instead of "the". (It doesn't change the argument, just makes it more obvious).
    A: Reading is one of those activities that are not suitable for everyone.
    The first part of the sentence says that reading is part of a group. The second part says that the group comprises those activities that are not suitable for everyone. You cannot use "is" without changing the meaning.
    Last edited by Raymott; 30-Aug-2009 at 17:52.

  9. #9
    Pedroski is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: just checking my spell checker :)

    1) 'This is one (of the activities) that are not suitable for everyone.' is not a correct sentence. It is ungrammatical.

    The problem lies in knowing what the antecedent of the pronoun 'that' is. It can have only one antecedent, as this is not an ambiguous sentence. To the untrained eye, it is easy to make the mistake of thinking that its antecedent is 'activities'. A pronoun inherits the person characteristics of its antecedent. So, if you think 'activities' is the antecedent of that, then you choose 'are' as the verb form in the relative clause and in all other like constructions.

    Just as physicists assume that the laws of physics which pertain in our solar system pertain in the rest of the universe, so will I assume that, in any construction such as 1), the pronoun 'that' always refers to the same noun, even in cases superficially ambivalent such at 1). That said, here are examples which leave no room for doubt:
    Drone drone drone. What's that noise?
    2) This is the one (of my records) that was a hit. [ one was a hit, not records were ]

    Aaaahaaahahaaa! What's that noise?
    3) It is Tarzan, (of jungle stories) that is so loud. [ Tarzan is loud, not stories are loud ]

    Ding a ling! What's that noise?
    4) It is Santa Claus (of the land of snows) that brings the presents. [ Santa brings, not snows bring ]

    Last but not least, and noiselessly:
    5) This is the one (of the activities) that is not suitable for everyone. [ the one is not activities are ]

    Each time, the pronoun 'that' refers to the object of the main verb. The adjunct, that I have put in brackets, can be left out.

    Although, on the surface structure of 1) it would seem that activities is nearer, and following a Locality Principal ( see Chomsky), that could refer to activities, in fact, from the tree diagram it is easy to see that 'one' is nearer. Furthermore, and more importantly, a relation known as c-command, part of Binding Theory does not pertain between 'activities' and 'that', which precludes 'activities' as an antecedent of 'that' in 1), but this goes beyond the scope of this forum.

    As a ps and for clarity I would like to say that a Prepositional Phrase never contains a relative clause.

  10. #10
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: just checking my spell checker :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedroski View Post
    1) 'This is one (of the activities) that are not suitable for everyone.' is not a correct sentence. It is ungrammatical.
    'This is one of the activities that are not suitable for everyone.' is a correct grammatical sentence.

    The problem lies in knowing what the antecedent of the pronoun 'that' is. It can have only one antecedent, as this is not an ambiguous sentence. To the untrained eye, it is easy to make the mistake of thinking that its antecedent is 'activities'. A pronoun inherits the person characteristics of its antecedent. So, if you think 'activities' is the antecedent of that, then you choose 'are' as the verb form in the relative clause and in all other like constructions.
    Exactly. That's what I've been saying. I've pointed out numerous sentences in which 'activities' is the antecedent.
    Your following sentences obviously take "is", so they aren't relevant. The fact that you even bothered posting them convinces me that you haven't yet understood the point.
    For example, why would anyone claim in:
    "4) It is Santa Claus (of the land of snows) that brings the presents." that it is the snows that bring the presents?
    It should take only a superficial reading of my arguments to realise that I'm not suggesting that.


    Do you agree with the following:
    1. There is a group of plants that are called fruits.
    2. The apple is one of this group.
    3. The apple is one the group of plants that are called fruits.
    Correct
    4. The apple is one the group of plants that is called a fruit. Possibly a correct sentence, but not in dispute at the moment.


    'Trained eyes' can miss things that a little thinking about and an open mind will sometimes clarify.
    In any case, if you can force yourself to accept 3. as a correct sentence, you should be able to work slowly backwards to the earlier sentences.
    Otherwise, I'm not sure I can help any further.


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