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  1. #1
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    Arrow Pronoun antecedent modifies...?

    In the following sentence:

    Landlord agress that Tenant and its guests shall be entitled to use the beach.

    I know that "its guests" can modify "Tenant."

    Without rewriting the sentence... could it be possible that "its guests" is modifying "Landlord" instead of "Tenant." After all, an antecedent can modify things that come before them, and since "Landlord" comes before the antecedent, it could be possible.

    Am I correct? Is there a place where I could look this up?

  2. #2
    Kondorosi is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Pronoun antecedent modifies...?

    Quote Originally Posted by JonKeiLan View Post

    Landlord agress that Tenant and its guests shall be entitled to use the beach.
    Quote Originally Posted by JonKeiLan View Post
    I know that "its guests" can modify "Tenant."
    Tenant and its guest is the compound subject in the nominal subordinate clause that follows the verb 'agrees'. In the compound, the noun phrases have equal syntactic status, and so, none of the constituent noun phrases can modify the other.

  3. #3
    TheParser is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Pronoun antecedent modifies...?

    Quote Originally Posted by JonKeiLan View Post
    In the following sentence:

    Landlord agress that Tenant and its guests shall be entitled to use the beach.

    I know that "its guests" can modify "Tenant."

    Without rewriting the sentence... could it be possible that "its guests" is modifying "Landlord" instead of "Tenant." After all, an antecedent can modify things that come before them, and since "Landlord" comes before the antecedent, it could be possible.

    Am I correct? Is there a place where I could look this up?
    ***NOT A TEACHER***I was wondering: if you used the names of people, would it help you to better understand the sentence? For example: Mr. Smith (Landlord) agrees that Mona (Tenant) and Mona's guests (its guests) shall be entitled to use the beach.

  4. #4
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Pronoun antecedent modifies...?

    Quote Originally Posted by JonKeiLan View Post
    In the following sentence:

    Landlord agress that Tenant and its guests shall be entitled to use the beach.

    I know that "its guests" can modify "Tenant."

    Without rewriting the sentence... could it be possible that "its guests" is modifying "Landlord" instead of "Tenant." After all, an antecedent can modify things that come before them, and since "Landlord" comes before the antecedent, it could be possible.

    Am I correct? Is there a place where I could look this up?
    For a start, neither 'landlord' nor 'tenant', both terms denoting humans, can be referred to as 'it(s)': assuming either gender to be possible, the correct possessive form here is 'his/her'.

    Rewriting it in acceptable English, then, we would get

    The Landlord agrees that the Tenant and his/her guests shall be entitled to use the beach.

    in which, yes, judged from a purely linguistic viewpoint, the possessive could certainly refer back to 'landlord' just as well as to 'tenants'. However, common sense would tend to indicate that the former interpretation is unlikely, to say the least!

    Further, well-phrased legal language (which this patently is not!) will always take the greatest care to avoid such glaring ambiguities by repeating nouns whenever necessary (...the Tenant's guests.../the Landlord's guests...).

    Incidentally, on a purely grammatical point - which may or may not be of much interest to you - pronouns do not 'modify' antecedents; they simply 'have' them.

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