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  1. #1
    wq.denis's Avatar
    wq.denis is offline Junior Member
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    Post a Confusing sentence

    Hi my friends,

    Although I partly understood the idea of sentence in bellow, it seems me grammatically incorrect and confusing, especially in bold part.


    An employee may be the only contact a particular costumer has with the firm.


    Could some one make me clear and explain which grammar rules used on it?

  2. #2
    Coolfootluke is offline Member
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    Default Re: a Confusing sentence

    I am not a teacher.

    Idiom demands "with" with "contact" in this case. The customer has contact with the firm through an employee.

    It's not "has with the firm", it's "contact [that] the customer has ...".

  3. #3
    TheParser is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: a Confusing sentence

    Quote Originally Posted by wq.denis View Post
    Hi my friends,

    Although I partly understood the idea of sentence in bellow, it seems me grammatically incorrect and confusing, especially in bold part.

    An employee may be the only contact a particular costumer has with the firm.

    Could some one make me clear and explain which grammar rules used on it?
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Wq.denis,

    (1) You have asked a very interesting question.

    (2) When I first read it a few times, I did not understand why it would

    confuse you.

    (3) After thinking about it, I think that I can now understand why it

    might confuse you.

    (a) A word is missing. In speech (and even in writing) that word is

    often deleted (dropped), but it is vital for parsing (analysis). That

    word is: that (the relative pronoun).

    An employee may be the only contact that a particular customer

    has with the firm.

    (i) that = the only contact.

    (b) Let's delete the words "with the firm."

    (c) An employee may be the only contact that a customer has.

    (That is the direct object of has. In other words: An employee may be the only contact a customer has that. But that sentence is not "good" English. So we have to move that to a position after contact.)

    (i) If the relative pronoun did not exist, we would have to write that

    sentence in two sentences:

    An employee may be the only contact.

    A customer has the only contact.

    Obviously, that is not very smooth or clear. Fortunately, English

    speakers invented relative pronouns. That means "the only contact."

    So we do not have to say "the only contact" two times.

    (d) Now, let's discuss the words "with the firm." I can well understand

    your confusion.

    (i) In my opinion, that is a prepositional phrase that modifies (belongs to)

    the noun "contact." That is, it explains what kind of contact.

    (e) If we write your sentence this way, maybe it will be clearer:

    An employee may be the only contact with the firm that a customer

    has.

    Question: Who may be the only contact with the firm that a customer

    has?

    Answer: An employee

  4. #4
    wq.denis's Avatar
    wq.denis is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: a Confusing sentence

    Not a teacher? You are more than that Parser!

  5. #5
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: a Confusing sentence

    Quote Originally Posted by wq.denis View Post
    Not a teacher? You are more than that Parser!
    I am sure you meant that as a (deserved) compliment, wq.denis, but it would be possible to interpret what you said in the opposite way to the one you intended:

    Not a teacher? - You are more than that = you are absolutely, clearly, definitely not a teacher.

    To avoid this, you'll need to rephrase it. One suggestion is:

    Not a teacher? You are more than a teacher, Parser.

  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: a Confusing sentence

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post

    but it would be possible to interpret what you said in the opposite way
    Context, fjj, context.

  7. #7
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: a Confusing sentence

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Context, fjj, context.
    Petard!

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