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Thread: modification

  1. #1
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Default modification

    We human beings evolved through the process of natural selection acting on our genes.

    About 'acting on...', does it modify 'natural selection' only, or 'the process of natural selection'?

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: modification

    Natural selection is a process, so I can't see that there's any real distinction to be made; I would say it's the whole phrase.

  3. #3
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: modification

    I see. So you think the 'of' used here is the same kind as this one?

    The habit of getting up early

  4. #4
    Ba_mako is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: modification

    Quote Originally Posted by Taka View Post
    We human beings evolved through the process of natural selection acting on our genes.

    About 'acting on...', does it modify 'natural selection' only, or 'the process of natural selection'?
    Apposition with "of-phrases" is an important issue to be recognized here, IMO.
    Such expressions are relatable to be-sentences whose subjects are put into of
    phrases:

    Natural selection is a process.
    The process (that I mean) is natural selection.
    the process of natural selection

    ...[the process (of = natural selection)] acting on our genes.

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