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    #1

    Question [Awkward Sentence??] He remembered a kind of glue developed by a colleague.....

    He remembered a kind of glue developed by a colleague that everyone thought _____ a failure because it did not stick very well.
    (A) is (B) was (C) will be (D) has been
    Ans: (B)

    This may be an awkward sentence?
    The key point of my question is not the answer itself but the sentence structure:
    He remembered (that) a kind of glue (which was) developed by a colleague that everyone thought was a failure...

    Let's narrow down to the sentence in the that-clause.
    [A kind of glue (which was developed by a colleague)] [that everyone thought] [  was   ] [    a failure   ].
    [            subject           ]+[     ?      ]+[linking verb]+[subject complement]
    -->What is the propriety of the clause 'that everyone thought'?

    According to that sentence structure, can I say:
    The money [which was taken by Alex] [that everyone thought] was not his money.
    Two relative clauses in a row??? Can you accept this???

    Furthermore, the sentence is correct and sensible:
    Everyone thought that the kind of glue was a failure.

    But... is the kind of inversion awkward or sensible?
    The kind of glue that everyone thought was a failure.

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: [Awkward Sentence??] He remembered a kind of glue developed by a colleague.....

    It is entirely unremarkable to me.
    The glue was 1) developed by a colleague, and 2) thought to be a failure.
    The money was 1) taken by Alex, and 2) thought to not be his money (You need a main verb to go with that giant noun phrase - like "was actually his all along.")

    One of the earrings you paid so much for that you left on the counter fell down the drain.

    If you are writing for learners, you should probably write it another way: He remembered that one of his colleagues had developed a type of glue. People thought the glue was a failure. It was not a good glue, but it was useful in another way. It became part 3M's best-selling product.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #3

    Re: [Awkward Sentence??] He remembered a kind of glue developed by a colleague.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    It is entirely unremarkable to me.
    The glue was 1) developed by a colleague, and 2) thought to be a failure.
    The money was 1) taken by Alex, and 2) thought to not be his money (You need a main verb to go with that giant noun phrase - like "was actually his all along.")

    One of the earrings you paid so much for that you left on the counter fell down the drain.

    If you are writing for learners, you should probably write it another way: He remembered that one of his colleagues had developed a type of glue. People thought the glue was a failure. It was not a good glue, but it was useful in another way. It became part 3M's best-selling product.
    The original sentence is taken from the Entrance College Examination in year 2009 (Taiwan)
    From your reply, the sentence is not an acceptable one. Tomorrow I will need to teach the passage to my students but I found the sentence strange. The writers of this exam paper in that year did write a strange sentence.

    Original passage:
    Art Fry was a researcher in the 3M Company. He was bothered by a small irritation every Sunday as he sang in the church choir. That is, after he __(16)__ his pages in the hymn book with small bits of paper, the small pieces would invariably fall out all over the floor. One day, an idea __(17)__ Art Fry. He remembered a kind of glue developed by a colleague that everyone thought __(18)__ a failure because it did not stick very well. He then coated the glue on a paper sample and found that it was not only a good bookmark, but it was great for writing notes. It would stay in place __(19)__ you wanted it to. Then you could remove it __(20)__ damage. The resulting product was called the Post-it, one of 3M’s most successful office products.

    16. (A) marked (B) tore (C) served (D) took

    17. (A) threw at (B) occurred to (C) looked down upon (D) came up with

    18. (A) is (B) was (C) will be (D) has been

    19. (A) despite that (B) rather than (C) as long as (D) no matter what

    20. (A) into (B) out of (C) within (D) without
    Last edited by simile; 17-Dec-2013 at 16:16.

  2. tzfujimino's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: [Awkward Sentence??] He remembered a kind of glue developed by a colleague.....

    Quote Originally Posted by simile View Post
    He remembered a kind of glue developed by a colleague that everyone thought _____ a failure because it did not stick very well.
    (A) is (B) was (C) will be (D) has been
    Ans: (B)

    This may be an awkward sentence?
    The key point of my question is not the answer itself but the sentence structure:
    He remembered (that) a kind of glue (which was) developed by a colleague that everyone thought was a failure... 'that' is not left out. It doesn't belong here, in my opinion.

    Hello, simile.

    How about:

    1. He remembered a kind of glue [developed by a colleague]. - These words in the square brackets modify the word 'glue'.
    2. Everyone thought it was a failure. - The word 'it' refers to the 'kind of glue developed by a colleague'.
    → He remembered a kind of glue developed by a colleague that/which everyone thought was a failure.

    I think the problem is that you added an extra 'that' after 'remember', which made things more complicated for you.

    I hope my response will be of some assistance to you.

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    #5

    Re: [Awkward Sentence??] He remembered a kind of glue developed by a colleague.....

    Quote Originally Posted by tzfujimino View Post
    Hello, simile.

    How about:

    1. He remembered a kind of glue [developed by a colleague]. - These words in the square brackets modify the word 'glue'.
    2. Everyone thought it was a failure. - The word 'it' refers to the 'kind of glue developed by a colleague'.
    → He remembered a kind of glue developed by a colleague that/which everyone thought was a failure.

    I think the problem is that you added an extra 'that' after 'remember', which made things more complicated for you.

    I hope my response will be of some assistance to you.
    Thanks for your reply but I prefer Barb_D's suggestion. The sentence itself is unremarkable to a native speaker's ear. The strange part is 'that everyone thought was a failure' is really not natural.

    Natural sentences:
    (From Longman Dictionary)
    I think that you're being unfair.
    I thought it best to call first.
    Fraud is thought to be costing software companies millions of dollars a year.

    But...
    The tool that I think was a failure. <-- I don't think the sentence is natural.

    Furthermore, two relative clauses connected together????
    For example,
    the chair which you bought yesterday which your father liked (???!!!)
    And back to the original phrase discussed:
    'a kind of glue (which was developed by a colleague) (that/which everyone thought was a failure)'
             relative clause 1              relative clause 2
    This is so strange... two relative clauses connected together in this case?!


    Let's simplify the sentence to:
    He remembered (that) a kind of glue was a failure. <-- This is natural and sensible.
    The word 'that' doesn't make it complicated. It is only the need of the natural sentence structure.
    With or without 'that,' it won't make any difference to the sentence structure.
    A kind of glue was  a failure.
       S     V    SC
    Last edited by simile; 17-Dec-2013 at 18:15.

  3. tzfujimino's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: [Awkward Sentence??] He remembered a kind of glue developed by a colleague.....

    Quote Originally Posted by simile View Post
    Thanks for your reply but I prefer Barb_D's suggestion. The sentence itself is unremarkable to a native speaker's ear. Well, 'unremarkable' means 'ordinary'. I think Barb is saying that the sentence is just 'ordinary'. (There is nothing wrong with it.) The strange part is 'that everyone thought was a failure' is really not natural.

    Natural sentences:
    (From Longman Dictionary)
    I think that you're being unfair.
    I thought it best to call first.
    Fraud is thought to be costing software companies millions of dollars a year.

    But...
    The tool that I think was a failure. <-- I don't think the sentence is natural. "The tool that I think was a failure" is not a sentence. Barb would say "you'll need a main verb."

    Furthermore, two relative clauses connected together????
    For example,
    the chair which you bought yesterday which your father liked (???!!!)
    And back to the original phrase discussed:
    'a kind of glue (which developed by a colleague) (that/which everyone thought was a failure)'
    This is so strange... two relative clauses connected together in this case?!
    Hello, simile.
    My opinions are shown above in red.

    I divided the original sentence into two to make it easier for you to understand the structure.
    Please read my previous post again.

  4. tzfujimino's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: [Awkward Sentence??] He remembered a kind of glue developed by a colleague.....

    Quote Originally Posted by simile View Post
    Furthermore, two relative clauses connected together????
    For example,
    the chair which you bought yesterday which your father liked (???!!!) I think it's possible. I'd omit the first "which".
    And back to the original phrase discussed:
    'a kind of glue (which was developed by a colleague) (that/which everyone thought was a failure)'
             relative clause 1              relative clause 2
    This is so strange... two relative clauses connected together in this case?!


    Let's simplify the sentence to:
    He remembered (that) a kind of glue was a failure. <-- This is natural and sensible. Yes. "That" is optional in this example. I agree with you that it is a grammatical sentence.
    The word 'that' doesn't make it complicated. It is only the need of the natural sentence structure.
    With or without 'that,' it won't make any difference to the sentence structure.
    A kind of glue was  a failure.
       S     V    SC
    Hello.
    I think it's possible to use two relative clauses in one sentence.

  5. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: [Awkward Sentence??] He remembered a kind of glue developed by a colleague.....

    Quote Originally Posted by simile View Post
    From your reply, the sentence is not an acceptable one.
    I'm sorry my response caused you to think this.

    When I said it was "unremarkable" I meant there is nothing strange about it. It is perfectly acceptable.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #9

    Re: [Awkward Sentence??] He remembered a kind of glue developed by a colleague.....

    Can anyone explain the sentence structure of the following sentence?
    The light bulb [(which was) invented by Edison] [that everyone thought] was a great invention.
    The existence of 'that everyone thought' in the sentence is weird.
    Is this oral English? Is this also good for written or formal English??
    Which part does that (as in 'that everyone thought') stand for? The light bulb or the closest word Edison?

    There is an ambiguity.
    '...Edison that everyone thought was a great invention' can also be interpreted as
    'everyone thought Edison was a great invention' (??)

    I think the writer is putting too much information in one sentence. And this is not good for clarity. Sometimes it creates an ambiguity.
    The better way is to split the ideas into different sentences.

    Let's use this 'strange' structure to make more sentences to see whether this will become natural to me or anyone:
    The chair you bought that your father was sitting on was very expensive.
    The book you borrowed that I brought back from Australia was a limited edition.
    The battery produced by your company that automatically burnt itself was a bad product.
    (The battery burnt or the company burnt?)

    Ambiguity? Clarity?
    Last edited by simile; 17-Dec-2013 at 19:13.

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    #10

    Re: [Awkward Sentence??] He remembered a kind of glue developed by a colleague.....

    Quote Originally Posted by simile View Post
    Can anyone explain the sentence structure of the following sentence?
    The light bulb [(which was) invented by Edison] [that everyone thought] was a great invention.
    Which 'sentence' are you asking about?

    The light bulb invented by Edison was a great invention. That's fine.
    The light bulb which was invented by Edison was a great invention. That's fine, though I'd use 'that' rather than 'which'.
    The light bulb invented by Edison that everyone thought was a great invention. That's not a complete sentence.
    The light bulb which was invented by Edison that everyone thought was a great invention. That's not a complete sentence.
    Last edited by 5jj; 17-Dec-2013 at 19:28. Reason: format

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