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    #1

    subject to a verb

    First is the original, followed by the question. Only one word is in question:

    " An ivory tower is a natural location for surveying the grand sweep of history and its consequences. To my surprise I find the professor in a modern suite of offices on a high street away from Harvard's ivy-clad halls. He is surrounded by books piled high on the floor, desk and shelves including many translations of his most famous tome, which launched 1,000 academic conferences before a bunch of suicide pilots turned theory into practice on September 11, 2001 and sealed his reputation as the world's foremost scholar of the modern age."


    Sealed: what is the subject to the verb “sealed”, a bunch of suicide pilots or his famous tome? In other words, the famous tome sealed his reputation or the bunch of suicide pilots sealed his reputation. I bet on the famous tome. Thanks for your insight.


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    #2

    Re: subject to a verb

    Hi,
    IMHO, the pilots. I don't understand what connection there is between the 9.11 and his reputation, though.

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    #3

    Re: subject to a verb

    The tome IMO

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    #4

    Re: subject to a verb

    Grammatically either way is correct, but the meanings are different. Tdol’s affirmation cleared my doubt about my own correct interpretation. Thanks. I am writing the following for others also interested in the sentence:

    In the first case,

    1. “a bunch of suicide pilots turned theory into practice” logically connects with “sealed his reputation as a scholar”, and the logical connection is practice (suicide pilots) proves the theory and as the result his reputation established (practice proves theory).

    In the second case,

    2. “a bunch of suicide pilots turned theory into practice” logically connects with “1000 academic conferences”, and logical connection is theory (conferences) put into practice (suicide pilots).

    Apparently the second case is logically much stronger in this case, as a scholar’s academic reputation should not be determined by a bunch of suicide pilots, but should be determined by an important book. The subject to the verb “sealed” is the famous tome.


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    #5

    Re: subject to a verb

    Doesn’t the proximity of bunch to sealed in comparison with tome make it more probable to be the subject?
    I think if the tome were really meant to be the subject, there’d be a comma before the last and.
    I am not too strong at punctuation, but I think a comma sometimes (as in this case or before which) is meaningful.

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