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Taka

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The sentence:

Arriving at the beach, people stake out a small territorial claim, marking it with rugs, towels, baskets and other belongings to which they can return from their seaboard wanderings.

About "which" above, which words does it refer to?:

(a) which=other belongings
(b) which=rugs, towels, baskets and other belongings

I think it's (a), but my book says it's (b)...
 

blacknomi

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Arriving at the beach, people stake out a small territorial claim, marking it with rugs, towels, baskets and other belongings which they can return to from their seaboard wanderings.


At the first glance, I think it's (a). But to give it a second thought, I don't see anything wrong with the lovely 'bee'. Let's wait for teachers to clarify.

:D
 

twostep

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blacknomi said:
Arriving at the beach, people stake out a small territorial claim, marking it with rugs, towels, baskets and other belongings which they can return to from their seaboard wanderings.


At the first glance, I think it's (a). But to give it a second thought, I don't see anything wrong with the lovely 'bee'. Let's wait for teachers to clarify.

:D

I would say b. They return to all of their belongings.
 

Taka

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If it were not restrictive use, (b) might be possible. But as "to which" is restrictive without a comma in front, my choice is (a).

----
Wow! blacknomi, you have become a key member! :shock:

Congrats!
 

blacknomi

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Taka said:
If it were not restrictive use, (b) might be possible. But as "to which" is restrictive without a comma in front, my choice is (a).

I agree with you. If you insert a comma in front of 'which', it changes the meaning. :D

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Taka said:
Wow! blacknomi, you have become a key member! :shock:
Congrats!

:oops: Thanks,Taka. I'm on my way to learn Japanese now. hehe
 

Taka

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blacknomi said:
Thanks,Taka. I'm on my way to learn Japanese now. hehe

Really? That's great.

If there is anything I can do to help you, let me know. Anytime. :wink:
 

Taka

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Any comments, tdol?
 

Tdol

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Why can't a restrictive relative define more than one item? Logically, the main points of guidance are the towels and rugs, so I'd say the 'to which' refers to them.;-)
 

blacknomi

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tdol said:
Why can't a restrictive relative define more than one item?


Objection! Your Honor. :shock:

If a restrictive relative could define more than one item, what would non-restrictive relative do?
 

Taka

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tdol said:
Why can't a restrictive relative define more than one item? Logically, the main points of guidance are the towels and rugs, so I'd say the 'to which' refers to them.;-)

OK, the sentence has this in front:

It is one of the tragedies of modern architecture that there has been a standardization of there vital territorial living-units. One of the most important aspects of a home is that it should be similar to other homes only in a general way, and that in detail it should have many differences, making it a particular home. Unfortunately, it is cheaper to build a row of houses, or a block of flats, so that all the family living-units are identical, but the territorial urge rebels against this trend and house-owners struggle as best they can to make their mark on their mass-produced properties. They do this with garden-design, with front door colours, with curtain patterns, with wall paper and all the other decorative elements that together create a unique and different family environment. Only when they have completed this nest-building do they feel truly at home and secure.

When they venture forth as a family unit they repeat the process in a minor way. On a day-trip to the seaside, they load the car with personal belongings and it becomes their temporary, portable territory. Arriving at...


In this context, it is obvious that rugs, towels, baskets are, as garden-design curtain patters, and wall paper, markers for their territories. There is no need to explain that people come back to them.

Plus, if the restrictive "which" modified them, it would mean that there were at least two kinds of rugs, towels, baskets: those we come back to and those we leave behind and never return to. And its interpretation would be like "people leave a particular kind of rugs, towels, baskets that they come back to", which I think is really strange.
 

Taka

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Tdol

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This makes more sense to me:
Arriving at the beach, people stake out a small territorial claim, marking it with rugs, towels, baskets and other belongings, to which they can return from their seaboard wanderings.

Doesn't taht fit better? ;-)
 

Taka

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tdol said:
This makes more sense to me:
Arriving at the beach, people stake out a small territorial claim, marking it with rugs, towels, baskets and other belongings, to which they can return from their seaboard wanderings.

Doesn't taht fit better? ;-)

Well maybe. But don't you think you need to identify "other belongings" by the restrictive "(to) which"? Otherwise, you never know what belongings they are.

I think it's like saying "tdol, Mike, and other teachers who work very hard in UsingEnglish.com".
 

Tdol

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Going back to the original version, I do not think it only refers to belongings. People return to the spot, usually marked most clearly by the rug or towel. ;-)
 

Taka

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Take a close look at this part:

They do this with garden-design, with front door colours, with curtain patterns, with wall paper and all the other decorative elements that together create a unique and different family environment.

IMO,garden-design, front door colours, curtain patterns, wall paper are examples of decorative elements that create a unique and different family environment. Those are such typical examples of territorial markers that they don't have to be identified by the restricitve relative pronoun "that" in back. Plus, here "that" cannot modify them grammatically even though they all create a unique and different family environment: each of them has "with" in front; "(with X1, with X2, with X3) that..." is impossible.

And I think in this essay rugs, towels, baskets correspond to garden-design, front door colours, curtain patterns, wall paper; they are all typical examples of territorial markers on the place people come back to, and they need not to be identified by "which/that".

Anyway, I think it's really odd if they were modified by the restrictive relative pronoun. It's like saying "London where tdol lives"...
 

Tdol

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I meant the rugs on the beach. I don't think that your analysis necessarily works in this example either- you could bung 'with' in before the last item. There is a case for arguing that the preposition changes things, but I think you're trying to slice things up too much. Without the preposition, they might be separate, but they don't necessarily have to be, IMHO. They might be modified as a job lot because of the word 'together'. In this exampls, it's ambiguous, but I wonder whether the author would have a particularly clear idea themselves on the issue. I wouldn't be surprised if they hadn't thought of it.;-)
 

Taka

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Don't you think if we have a "A1, A2 and other things that do as A" construction, the restrictive relative pronoun works only for "other things"?

(Examples)
(1)Giraffes, lions and other animals that inhabit Africa
(2)Television, radio and other sources of information that surround us

What restrictive relative pronouns do is identification: they specify, nail down, (a) particular thing(s) among many others. Here in (1) other animals are specified by "that inhabit Africa", and in (2) other sources of information by "that surround us". But it's really weird if you classified giraffes and lions, television and radio by the restrictive relative pronouns although it's clear the former inhabit Africa and the latter surround us.

And our "rugs, towels, baskets and other belongings to which they can return from their seaboard wanderings". "Other belongings" have to be specified by "to which they can return from..." because there are many kinds of belongings: some of them might be disposed of sometime, some given to others, some others kept. However, you shouldn't specify rugs, towels, baskets by "to which..." simply because, as giraffes and lions, television and radio above, they are specific already.

OK. Let's put it this way. If I say:

"Arriving at the beach, people stake out a small territorial claim, marking it with rugs, towels, baskets."

it makes sense; you know why people put them on the beach: they never leave them behind forever; they come back to them sooner or later. However, If I say:

"Arriving at the beach, people stake out a small territorial claim, marking it with other belongings."

it doesn't make sense; you'll never know what kind of belongings they are and why people mark it with them. Then you need to specify what they are, and one way to do it is to use a restrictive retative pronoun.
------

Well, as you say, maybe I'm trying to slice things up too much. But when it comes to translation into Japanese, sometimes I have to do it and analyze them in detail. :wink:
 

Taka

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Anything wrong with my understanding, tdol?
 

Tdol

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I'd say "A1, A2 and other things that do as A" would be context driven. In the context, say, of the animals in Africa, then I'd say you are right, but in the context of the beach example, I'd say things are less clearcut. Language doesn't always have mathematical precision, IMO. ;-)
 
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