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  1. #1
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    What is the English for it?

    Hello all,

    I am trying to put a sentence in good English.

    I know the expression "It was he, who came late".
    What about "they"? Is it possible to write "It were they [the parts] that were responsible for the contamination"?

    In the original it is "Responsible were the parts which were installed in...". This is a correct word order in German. As far as I know there is such a thing in English like inversion. Does it fit here?

    It was a translation from German into English and I am trying to do proof reading.

    Thank you very much in advance,
    Marusha
    Last edited by Marusha; 15-May-2010 at 00:27.

  2. #2
    mayita1usa's Avatar
    mayita1usa is offline Member
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    Re: What is the English for it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marusha View Post
    I know the expression "It was he, who came late".
    What about "they"? Is it possible to write "It were they [the parts] that were responsible for the contamination"?
    Yes, the inversion is gramatically possible, but the first verb needs to agree with the subject "it":
    - It was they that were responsible for the contamination."

    However, to my ears the pronoun "they" is an unnecessary circumlocution. Why not just say, It was the parts that were responsible... Or even, The parts were responsible...

    Also, in your first example you do not need the comma: It was he who came late.
    Last edited by mayita1usa; 15-May-2010 at 01:42.

  3. #3
    billmcd is offline Key Member
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    Re: What is the English for it?

    "It" is the subject, so the verb must agree with the subject. "They" must also agree with the verb form and therefore the sentence should read "It was they who came late".
    In you other example, "Responsible were the parts etc.", sounds a little subjunctive to me and you would not normally hear it stated in that way in everyday conversation. How about "The parts, that were installed in......., were responsible."

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: What is the English for it?

    How about he was the one...

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