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    #1

    what is in it for you

    Are these sentences correct:
    1) What is in it for you backing me against John?
    2) What is in it for you, backing me against John?

    3) What is in it for your backing me against John?

    4) What is in it for you to back me against John?



    What do they mean?

    How would you parse the correct ones?

    Gratefully,
    Navi.

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: what is in it for you

    1) and 3) are incorrect.
    2) and 4) are OK and they have the same meaning. I much prefer 2).
    What do you think they mean?
    “Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.”

    — Arthur Schopenhauer

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    #3

    Re: what is in it for you

    Thank you very much, Bhaisahab,

    I think they mean what advantage do you get from backing me against John.

    But I can't parse the sentences.

    Are the sentences acceptable in 'formal' English?P

    robably we have a dummy 'it':
    a) What is in backing me against John for you.

    b) What is in to back me against John for you.

    'b' sounds outlandish to me.
    I think 'a' works.

    Gratefully,
    Navi.

  2. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: what is in it for you

    Quote Originally Posted by navi tasan View Post
    Thank you very much, Bhaisahab,

    I think they mean what advantage do you get from backing me against John. Yes.

    But I can't parse the sentences.

    Are the sentences acceptable in 'formal' English? They're all informal - except that we would never say "What is." We'd say "What's."

    Probably we have a dummy 'it': What's a dummy it?

    a) What is in backing me against John for you. No. That's meaningless.

    b) What is in to back me against John for you. That's meaningless, too.

    'b' sounds outlandish to me. B is the best. It's grammatical and natural.

    I think 'a' works. No.

    Gratefully,
    Navi.
    Bhai is exactly right.

    The core question is: What's in it for you?

    To elaborate, you're adding "backing John against me," to make sure that it's clear what "it" refers to. (Pronouns always refer to something.)

    Since the phrase "backing John against me" is just an add-on, a comma goes before it.

    Does that make sense?
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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    #5

    Re: what is in it for you

    Thank you very much, Charlie,Yes. I was on the wrong track. What you have written makes perfect sense. Everything is clear now.Gratefully,Navi.

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