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    • Join Date: Sep 2008
    • Posts: 28
    #1

    Is it "I" or "Don"?

    The following sentence is taken from a paragraph in which the author presented 2 general types of writers, "planner" and "plunger", catagorized by a writing coach named "Don":

    "Like Don, I'm a planner who likes to know the central point and general organization of what he's about to write before he types the first line."


    Who is the antecedent to "he"? Thanks a lot.

    Raen


    • Join Date: Feb 2008
    • Posts: 484
    #2

    Re: Is it "I" or "Don"?

    The antecedents of "he" are "who" and "planner". They all have the same reference.


    • Join Date: Sep 2008
    • Posts: 28
    #3

    Re: Is it "I" or "Don"?

    Thank you Naomi.

    I had thought that "planner" was the predicate nominate for "I" therefore the who-clause should modify "I". Thus it would make more sense if the "he"s in the sub-clause be replaced with "I", unless "he" was used to refer to "Don". Niether guess was correct then?


    Raen


    • Join Date: Feb 2008
    • Posts: 484
    #4

    Re: Is it "I" or "Don"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raen View Post
    Thank you Naomi.

    I had thought that "planner" was the predicate nominate for "I" therefore the who-clause should modify "I". Thus it would make more sense if the "he"s in the sub-clause be replaced with "I", unless "he" was used to refer to "Don". Niether guess was correct then?


    Raen
    We’re getting into deep water here, Raen, but anyway… “A planner” may be the predicate nominative for “I” but the clause “I am a planner” is not what is called an “equative”* . Joe is the leader is an example of an equative: you can turn the sentence around and it still means the same thing: The leader is Joe is an example of an equative. Here Joe and the leader are one and the same person. But you can’t turn the clause “I am a planner” around and still get the same meaning: “I” and “a planner” do not refer to one and the same person. In your example, Don is also a planner; and as you say “a planner” is any type of writer who plans rather than plunges.

    A planner is a category of people, not a person. So “I” and who” and “he” are not one and the same person. As you rightly suggested, “who” is indeed the antecedent of “he”. And as I pointed out, “a planner” is the antecedent of “who”. But “I” is not their antecedent because “I am a planner” is not an equative.

    You could paraphrase your sentence by: “(Like Don,) I, Raen, am a person who belongs to the category of writers called ‘planners’. But if you turn the sentence around, ‘a person who belongs to the category of writers’ is not necessarily Raen. It can be anybody, including Don.

    I hope this is reasonably clear??

    *A Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics, David Crystal, Blackwell 1997, p. 138.


    • Join Date: Sep 2008
    • Posts: 28
    #5

    Re: Is it "I" or "Don"?

    I hope this is reasonably clear??
    It is clear, Naomi. Thanks alot.

    I now see what my problem was. For some reason, I somehow had this idea that the subject and verb, for instance, in a sub clause have to be in agreement with the subject of the main clause if the main clause takes the form of "subject + predicate nominative/adjective" such as this one: I am a planner..... I don't know what I based that idea on.

    Thanks again for your explanation. I can see now the transition in the sentence "I am a planner" from first person to third, and that "a planner" is unrestrictive to "I" and means "any person who is a planner". Semantically it is simple and clear. But I find when I am in an analyzing mode, as I tend to do nowadays--a side effect from studying grammar without much guidance, I weave myself into tangles that aren't there....it's messed up. Anyway, thank you. I've got it now.

    Raen


    • Join Date: Feb 2008
    • Posts: 484
    #6

    Re: Is it "I" or "Don"?

    My pleasure, Raen. Anyway it was a thought-provoking question. Don't hesitate to post other, equally challenging questions.

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