It relates to "July deal". The ink was not dry on the deal; myths don't have ink.
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"The secretary of state sought to dispel what he described as myths about the July deal which he said had begun to circulate “even before the ink was dry." (From The Guardian.)
Which noun does the pronoun "which" anaphorically refer to: is it "myths" or "the July deal" in the above sentence?
Last edited by tkacka15; 02-Sep-2015 at 22:20. Reason: Spelling
I read it as: The myths had begun to circulate... The deal would not be circulating. "Which" refers to myths.
Let's rework the word order: "The secretary of state sought to dispel what he described as myths which he said had begun to circulate “even before the ink
abouton the July deal was dry."
Last edited by J&K Tutoring; 03-Sep-2015 at 02:25.
The myths are circulating. The deal isn't circulating.
***** NOT A TEACHER *****
My teachers taught me that it was easier to analyze a sentence if one simplfied it as much as possible.
So let's work with this:
"He dispelled myths about the July deal that had begun to circulate."
As you can see, the prepositional phrase could be -- grammatically speaking -- deleted, and the integrity and the basic meaning of the sentence would remain.
If I've understood you properly, the prepositional phrase "about the July deal" is part of the noun phrase "myths about the July deal" and modifies its head, i.e. "myths". So, it is the head of that noun phrase (myths) the relative pronoun "which" refers to.