What is the English for it?

Status
Not open for further replies.

Marusha

Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2008
Member Type
Student or Learner
Hello all,

I am trying to put a sentence in good English.

I know the expression "It was he, who came late".
What about "they"? Is it possible to write "It were they [the parts] that were responsible for the contamination"?

In the original it is "Responsible were the parts which were installed in...". This is a correct word order in German. As far as I know there is such a thing in English like inversion. Does it fit here?

It was a translation from German into English and I am trying to do proof reading.

Thank you very much in advance,
Marusha
 
Last edited:

mayita1usa

Member
Joined
May 11, 2010
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
I know the expression "It was he, who came late".
What about "they"? Is it possible to write "It were they [the parts] that were responsible for the contamination"?

:up: Yes, the inversion is gramatically possible, but the first verb needs to agree with the subject "it":
- It was they that were responsible for the contamination."

However, to my ears the pronoun "they" is an unnecessary circumlocution. Why not just say, It was the parts that were responsible... Or even, The parts were responsible... :?:

Also, in your first example you do not need the comma: It was he who came late.
 
Last edited:

billmcd

Key Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2009
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
"It" is the subject, so the verb must agree with the subject. "They" must also agree with the verb form and therefore the sentence should read "It was they who came late".
In you other example, "Responsible were the parts etc.", sounds a little subjunctive to me and you would not normally hear it stated in that way in everyday conversation. How about "The parts, that were installed in......., were responsible."
 

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Japan
How about he was the one...
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top