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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    Sentence Analysis/Pronoun

    Hi, I am training to teach English.

    I was reading a Roald Dahl book to my kids when I came across this sentence.

    "The famous English scientist, Professor Foulbody, invented a machine which would tell you at once, without opening the wrapper of a bar of chocolate, whether or not there was a Golden Ticket hidden underneath it."

    Can the "it" at the end of the sentence refer to the wrapper? The wrapper is not a subject, is it?

    Thanks for your help.

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    #2

    Re: Sentence Analysis/Pronoun

    Quote Originally Posted by Yoast View Post
    Hi, I am training to teach English.

    I was reading a Roald Dahl book to my kids when I came across this sentence.

    "The famous English scientist, Professor Foulbody, invented a machine which would tell you at once, without opening the wrapper of a bar of chocolate, whether or not there was a Golden Ticket hidden underneath it."

    Can the "it" at the end of the sentence refer to the wrapper? It could, but "it" could also refer to the bar of chocolate.

    The wrapper is not a subject, is it? No, it isn't; "the wrapper" is the object of "opening".

    Thanks for your help.
    2006


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    #3

    Re: Sentence Analysis/Pronoun

    Quote Originally Posted by Yoast View Post
    Hi, I am training to teach English.

    I was reading a Roald Dahl book to my kids when I came across this sentence.

    "The famous English scientist, Professor Foulbody, invented a machine which would tell you at once, without opening the wrapper of a bar of chocolate, whether or not there was a Golden Ticket hidden underneath it."

    Can the "it" at the end of the sentence refer to the wrapper? The wrapper is not a subject, is it?

    Thanks for your help.
    it = wrapper
    it ≠ bar of chocolate - it would be utterly nonsensical

  2. Soup's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Sentence Analysis/Pronoun

    Hi Yoast


    I agree with the other posters.


    The famous English scientist invented a machine which would tell you at once, without you(r) having to open / you(r) opening the wrapper of a bar of chocolate, whether or not there was a Golden Ticket hidden underneath it/that wrapper of a bar of chocolate."
    If the wrapper were a subject, it would come before a verb. It doesn't. It comes after a verbal, which makes it an object. That's its function, as 2006 rightly points out; e.g., open <something>.


    Its form: it's a noun phrase modified by the prepositional phrase of a bar of chocolate.


    The pronoun it refers back to the entire noun phrase the wrapper of a bar of chocolate. That is, the Golden ticket is underneath the wrapper--of a bar of chocolate, as opposed to, say, the wrapper--of a stick of gum.


    Hope that helps.

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    #5

    Re: Sentence Analysis/Pronoun

    Quote Originally Posted by svartnik View Post
    it = wrapper
    it ≠ bar of chocolate - it would be utterly nonsensical
    Why is it nonsensical? Do you think it's grammatically nonsensical or nonsensical according to exactly where the ticket could be?

    It's not grammatically nonsensical. The grammar doesn't preclude the possibility that the ticket could be under the bar of chocolate, and not directly below the wrapper and on top of the chocolate. It could be in either one of those places.

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    #6

    Re: Sentence Analysis/Pronoun

    First of all: thanks to all of you for your helpfull comments.

    I'm sorry if I caused confusion by referring to the subject. I was initially confused by the sentence (and still am, to some extent) because of the distance between "wrapper" and the object pronoun "it".

    I think that "it" must refer to the wrapper because the word "underneath" makes that the only viable solution.

    I still think there is something strange about the sentence.

    It may be true that an objet pronoun can refer to anything that is not a subject, but I do wonder if there is not a rule about the distance between the object-pronoun and the thing referrred to.

    The personal pronouns can also lead to confusion if the distance between person and pronoun becomes to great.

    Maybe far fetched, but the subtle changes below appear to indicate to me that there was a rule about the distance.
    "The famous English scientist, Professor Foulbody, invented a machine which would tell you at once, without opening the friend of a girl of gentle disposition, whether or not there was a Golden Ticket hidden underneath her."

    Thanks again


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    #7

    Re: Sentence Analysis/Pronoun

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    Why is it nonsensical? Do you think it's grammatically nonsensical or nonsensical according to exactly where the ticket could be?
    invented a machine which would tell you at once, without opening the wrapper of a bar of chocolate, whether or not there was a Golden Ticket hidden underneath it
    The bar of chocolate cannot be the antecedent. Why invent a machine to see what is beneath a chocolate bar?

    without opening the wrapper of a bar of chocolate
    What would be the purpose of maintaining it if it were the bar of chocolate the pronoun 'it' refers to.

    Why invent a machine to see what is underneath a wrapper? That is more like it. Can you see what I meant by nonsensical meaningwise? It is obvious to me that the author refers back to 'wrapper', the head of the NP, by means of proform.

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    #8

    Re: Sentence Analysis/Pronoun

    Quote Originally Posted by svartnik View Post
    Semantically nonsensical. But then I am, to quote you, just a mere student.
    Semantically, it's even less nonsensical. And did I ever call you a "mere student"?

    Why did you bold "wrapper" in your quote of Soup? She didn't bold "wrapper". Is your argument so weak you have to try to help it in an underhanded manner?

    If I say, 'I have to open the lid of the jar to see if there is any candy inside it.', can I expect to find some candy inside the jar or can I only expect to find candy inside the lid?


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    #9

    Re: Sentence Analysis/Pronoun

    https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/a...tml#post533165

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    Why did you bold "wrapper" in your quote of Soup? She didn't bold "wrapper". Is your argument so weak you have to try to help it in an underhanded manner?
    You like those interrogatives, do you not?
    I meant the NP too, but only wrote wrapper to spare my fingers. I wrongly assumed a word to the wise is sufficient.

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    And did I ever call you a "mere student"?
    You are so insensitive (to NNES'S) that this amounts to a compliment coming from you.
    You are trying to prove your superiority, but actually, what you prove is something else.
    Last edited by svartnik; 11-Nov-2009 at 08:03.

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    #10

    Re: Sentence Analysis/Pronoun

    Quote Originally Posted by svartnik View Post
    https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/a...tml#post533165



    You like those interrogatives, do you not?
    I meant the NP too, but only wrote wrapper to spare my fingers. I wrongly assumed a word to the wise is sufficient.



    You are so insensitive (to NNES'S) that this amounts to a compliment coming from you. ???? You don't know what you are talking about!
    You are trying to prove your superiority, but actually, what you prove is something else.
    What is your problem?
    I'm not trying to prove anything; I am discussing language.
    But if I disagreee with you and your tactics, I will let you know.
    And don't send me any more personal messages. Whatever you have to say, be man enough to say it here.

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