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    #1

    personal turn

    Quotes from VOA News:
    The Midwest state of Iowa has scheduled its presidential caucus vote for January 3, in what amounts to the official start of the process to choose a Republican Party nominee to run against President Barack Obama next year.
    The battle for the party nomination has taken a personal turn in recent days between two of the top contenders, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Texas Governor Rick Perry.
    ...
    Analysts say Cain has risen in the polls because conservative Republican voters are still looking for an alternative to Mitt Romney.
    Tom DeFrank is Washington bureau chief for the New York Daily News and a regular analyst on VOA's Issues in the News program.
    "He is a personification of a protest by the most conservative elements of the Republican party, who need a standard-bearer because they don't like Mitt Romney who has emerged as the frontrunner but one who is viewed with a lack of enthusiasm by especially the Tea Party activists and the evangelicals [Christians]," he said.
    My questions:
    1.What's the usaeg of " in what"?,What does "what" refer to?
    2. what does "personal turn" mean?
    3.what does "personification" mean here?
    Thanks.

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: personal turn

    The presidential caucus isn't, in any formal or legally-defined way, an 'official start'; but it might as well be, in effect.

    'Personal turn' is a turn (change in the course of events) that is characterized by arguments about candidates rather than policies.

    If he is a 'personification' his person represents an idea. This was formerly used in elaborate compliments: 'You are generosity itself' [in fact they are just very generous, but the personification makes the compliment more telling.] As Latin words used for virtues tended to be feminine nouns, many statues and paintings personify them: charity, liberty, poverty, hope... that sort of thing

    Note: 'personification' is often (perhaps as an extension of its formal use in compliments) used in a loose sense to mean 'extremely <adjective>'. But in your example the word is used in a more precise sense: somebody's person has become the symbol of a protest.

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    #3

    Re: personal turn

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    The presidential caucus isn't, in any formal or legally-defined way, an 'official start'; but it might as well be, in effect.

    b
    So "what" refers to presidential caucus ,then why put an "in" before what?

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    #4

    Re: personal turn

    Quote Originally Posted by masterding View Post
    So "what" refers to presidential caucus ,then why put an "in" before what?

    NOT A TEACHER


    (1) Teacher Bob, as usual, has given us an excellent answer.

    (2) I should like to comment on the first sentence. If a teacher shows that I am wrong, I shall delete it immediately.

    (3) I believe the "in" is necessary because we are dealing with a prepositional phrase: In what amounts to the official start to find a Republican nominee. It is my opinion that the p.p. modifies the whole main sentence. Consider:

    In what amounts to the official start to find a Republican nominee, Iowa has scheduled its presidential caucus for January 3.

    (a) I think that when the p.p. is placed first, it clearly shows that it is referring to the whole main sentence. In other words, the VOA wanted you to know that "Iowa has scheduled its presidential caucus for January 3." Then the person who wrote this item wanted to comment on the significance of this news, so she "threw in" the comment "in what amounts to the official start to find a Republican nominee."

    (b) It is vital to remember that "what" in your sentence is a kind of relative pronoun. It means (loosely) "something that."

    In something that amounts (equals) to the official start to find a Republican nominee,

    Iowa has ....

    I guess that the "something" refers to the Iowa presidential caucus.

    (c) Of our 50 states, Iowa has the honor of being the first state to hold an election for a party's nominee. So when Iowa holds its caucus (something like an election), that caucus is really "the official start to find a Republican nominee." (As Teacher Bob taught us.)

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    #5

    Re: personal turn

    What if I replace "in what" with "which", and make it into an attributive clause."The Midwest state of Iowa has scheduled its presidential caucus vote for January 3, which amounts to the official start of the process to choose a Republican Party nominee to run against President Barack Obama next year."
    Does this sentence has the same meaning as the original one using a prepositional phrase?If not,what's the differernce?

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    #6

    Re: personal turn

    Quote Originally Posted by masterding View Post
    What if I replace "in what" with "which", and make it into an attributive clause."The Midwest state of Iowa has scheduled its presidential caucus vote for January 3, which amounts to the official start of the process to choose a Republican Party nominee to run against President Barack Obama next year."
    Does this sentence has the same meaning as the original one using a prepositional phrase?If not,what's the differernce?

    NOT A TEACHER


    (1) What a small world! I was thinking of the same thing last night.

    (2) Specifically, I was thinking of something like:

    Iowa's presidential caucus, which is the official start of the process to choose

    a Republican candidate, has been scheduled for January 3.

    (a) As you see, the adjective/relative clause is a non-restrictive (non-defining) clause that adds to the main sentence (just as that prepositional phrase was non-restrictive).

    (3) In my sentence, "which" clearly refers to "presidential caucus."

    (4) In your sentence, however, maybe the antecedent of "which" is ambiguous.

    (a) Yes, some people would say that it "obviously" refers to "caucus."

    (b) But maybe there is a case for saying that it modifies the whole sentence. That is,

    maybe some people would interpret it as:

    Iowa has scheduled its caucus for January 3, which fact amounts to the official start

    of the process to choose a Republican candidate.

    (i) That is, "which fact" refers to the scheduling of the caucus (not the caucus per se).

    (5) Let's see what the teachers say. In fact, maybe a teacher has answered you while I was typing this. I'm now going to push "submit reply."

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    #7

    Re: personal turn

    I would say that the referent of 'which', in that case, is the scheduling of the event rather than the event itself.

    b

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