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  1. #1
    tom3m is offline Senior Member
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    Default English language poll - One of the main problems that ____ down progress....

    During going through the polls, I came across this sentence:
    One of the main problems that ____ down progress....
    slow 30.97 % (109)
    slows 61.65 % (217)
    Either 7.39 % (26)


    I think either can be used:

    WITH SLOW: slow is the part of the phrase 'the main problems that slow down progress'....

    WITH SLOWS: slows refers to the problem, which is implied by the word 'one'

    Am I right? What is your opinion about it?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: English language poll - One of the main problems that ____ down progress....

    Quote Originally Posted by tom3m View Post
    During going through the polls, I came across this sentence:
    One of the main problems that ____ down progress....
    slow 30.97 % (109)
    slows 61.65 % (217)
    Either 7.39 % (26)


    WITH SLOW: slow is the part of the phrase 'the main problems that slow down progress'....
    WITH SLOWS: slows refers to the problem, which is implied by the word 'one'

    Am I right? What is your opinion about it?
    While it's not an absolute rule, the antecedent of a relative pronoun is usually taken to be the noun immediately before it, unless context makes it clear that this is not the case.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  3. #3
    tom3m is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: English language poll - One of the main problems that ____ down progress....

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    While it's not an absolute rule, the antecedent of a relative pronoun is usually taken to be the noun immediately before it, unless context makes it clear that this is not the case.
    Thank you,
    I have just imagined what I would do, if this were in a test. The teacher should the respect both the answers, shouldn't he?
    Last edited by tom3m; 27-Jul-2012 at 12:24. Reason: syntax

  4. #4
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    Default Re: English language poll - One of the main problems that ____ down progress....

    Quote Originally Posted by tom3m View Post
    I have just imagined what would I do, if this were in a test. The teacher should the respect both the answers, shouldn't he?
    I would not test something like that. When some native speakers can't agree on what is correct, it seems a little harsh to expect a learner to come up with the 'right' answer.

    However, if a teacher is pedantic enough to want to test this, then s/he should accept only 'slow'.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  5. #5
    tom3m is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: English language poll - One of the main problems that ____ down progress....

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    I would not test something like that. When some native speakers can't agree on what is correct, it seems a little harsh to expect a learner to come up with the 'right' answer.

    However, if a teacher is pedantic enough to want to test this, then s/he should accept only 'slow'.
    If I have got your point, the first answer would be the most correct one, when it comes to the prescriptive approach to the language. However, is there an ambiguity at all? At first I thought it was and that is why I concluded for myself that it is the ambiguity that allows both possible forms of the verb.
    Last edited by tom3m; 27-Jul-2012 at 20:04. Reason: typos

  6. #6
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    Default Re: English language poll - One of the main problems that ____ down progress....

    There is no ambiguity.

    One of the problems that slow(s) ____ down progress is....

    Whether the speaker says 'slow' or 'slows', it is fairly clear that there are several problems that slow down progress, and that s/he is about to tells us one of them. The verb should be plural, but some people concentrate on the 'one' and use the singular form.

    If there is only one problem that slows down progress, the speaker will say something like:
    One problem that slows down progress is ...

    The situation in the sentence below is different:

    There are different problems facing the industry . One (of the problems) that slows down progress is ...; one that causes environment problems is ...; etc
    Last edited by 5jj; 27-Jul-2012 at 20:23. Reason: mistake corrected
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  7. #7
    tom3m is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: English language poll - One of the main problems that ____ down progress....

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    There is no ambiguity.

    One of the problems that slow(s) ____ down progress is....

    Whether the speaker says 'slow' or 'slows', it is fairly clear that there are several problems that slow down progress, and that s/he is about to tells us one of them. The verb should be singular, but some people use the plural form because of the proximity of the plural noun.'

    If there is only one problem that slows down progress, the speaker will say something like:
    One problem that slows down progress is ...

    The situation in the sentence below is different:

    There are different problems facing the industry . One (of the problems) that slows down progress is ...; one that causes environment problems is ...; etc
    I do not really know if I understood this. For me, there is a contradiction. Here you say: '
    The verb should be singular, but some people use the plural form because of the proximity of the plural noun.' and in the previous quote - 'However, if a teacher is pedantic enough to want to test this, then s/he should accept only 'slow.' so may I hear the final statement which one (if not both) of them is grammatical/'correct' if we know that it continues with is?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: English language poll - One of the main problems that ____ down progress....

    Quote Originally Posted by tom3m View Post
    I do not really know if I understood this. For me, there is a contradiction.
    There is a contradiction because what I wrote was rubbish. Sorry, I can't have been concentrating. . I have now corrected my post.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


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