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      • Native Language:
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    • Join Date: Sep 2011
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    #1

    SWORDS THAT SERVED ONLY CEREMONIAL PURPOSES

    Is the following sentence grammatically correct? And is the punctuation all right?

    "Samurai were essentially civilian bureaucrats with their swords that served only ceremonial purposes."

    Here, the relative clause defines the swords, right? Do you think the sentence makes perfect sense and has correct grammar?
    Thank you in advance.

    • Member Info
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    • Join Date: Aug 2011
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    #2

    Re: SWORDS THAT SERVED ONLY CEREMONIAL PURPOSES

    It's awkward and confusing.
    1. It reads as if Samurai were bureaucrats and their swords were bureaucrats. What would they be with someone else's (not their) sword? "With their swords" sounds like they did something together. '...bureaucrats with swords...' would be better.
    2. What/who exactly served only ceremonial purposes? Samurai? Bureaucrats? Swords? "That" can refer to a person or a thing. "Which" would be a better choice.

    I suggest something like, 'Samurai were essentially civilian bureaucrats with swords- swords which served only ceremonial purposes.' Sometimes it helps to use a few extra words to make our meaning perfectly clear.

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