+0
Emotion: wave Hi everyone.

If someone helps me to solve this problem in grammar, I would be very thankful! Emotion: smile

The sentence I feel strange about is the following.



The bells and whistles originally referred to were those found on old fairground organs. Nowadays, the phrase is often used in computing jargon to mean 'attractive but superfluous facilities'

I wonder why that verb 'were' is located after preposition 'to'.

As some knowledge I know, Only noun can be located after preposition.

Or is this something like inversion? If so, why the inversion is used in this part?

Have a nice day!
1 2 3
Comments  
This really had to do with two different senses of the verb "to refer."

To refer to X is to allude to it. To refer X to Y is to recommend X to Y.

"Referred" in your sentence is used as an adjective, I believe, and the "to" must be tagged on to preserve this particular meaning.

In my first example, "refer" is intransitive. In the second one, "X" is the direct object, and Y is the indirect object. I gave X to y.
Hi,

I would simply say that 'referred to' is used here as a phrasal (ie two-word) verb.

Here's another example.

The amounts added up were incorrect.

Clive
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Thanks, Clive.

So the phrasal verb "to refer to" would be transitive, right?

"I referred to John." / "I am referring to John." "John" is the direct object of the verb.

"The bells which were referred to are beautiful."
The relative clause is passive.

- A.
ceniceroI wonder why that verb 'were' is located after preposition 'to'.
were is after to by coincidence. The two words belong to different constituents of the sentence.

The bells and whistles (to which someone originally referred) were those ...
The bells and whistles (which someone originally referred to)* were those ...

The bells and whistles (originally referred to) were those ...
[to were isn't a meaning unit. Notice how it crosses a meaning boundary.]

*This part is similar to inversion. But it's not inversion. It's called "stranding" because in this pattern the preposition is "stranded" at the end of its clause. Stranding is obligatory in passive relative clauses, as is relative pronoun deletion if there is no form of be. You can't have, for example, *The bells and whistles to which originally referred were those ...

Don't be fooled by the coincidental juxtaposition of a preposition and verb.

The topics talked about were history and economics.
The measures relied upon were strictly monitored.
The sentences objected to were the second and the fifth in the series.

CJ
CalifJimStranding is obligatory in passive relative clauses
Hi, Jim,

So you agree that "referred" is passive, therefore transitive?

"The bells which were referred to are beautiful."
The relative clause is passive.

- A.
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
AvangiSo you agree that "referred" is passive, therefore transitive?
Yes. And no. The verb refer is intransitive (in the sense used in this thread). But the structure refer to is possibly transitive, or at least amenable to passivization.

It's one of those oddities. Prepositional verbs are classified by some grammarians as intransitive because there is no "true" direct object (because a preposition intervenes), and yet they can be passivized. Go figure.

Even stranger cases exist. For example, sleep is the poster-child for the intransitive verb, and to sleep in (a bed) seems to be neither a phrasal verb nor a prepositional verb. Yet, we have the passive (or "pseudo-passive"?) structure,

This bed has been slept in by George Washington.

CJ
I can see I'm going to have to study some of these psuedo-definitions. Emotion: drunk

Are all verbs which require prepositions "prepositional verbs"? It doesn't seem possible.

Thank you very much for the explanation. - A.
The sentence is correct and there is no inversion, but there is a relative clause, which is confusing you.

the past participle 'reffered to' is used here as an adjective; to understand the sentence more clearly put in this way :The bells and whistles (which are) originally referred to were those found on old fairground organs.

By adding the relative pronoun, we change the past particile to a verb in the passive; but the relative clause has the same function as the past participle; both function as adjectives modifying the compound subject (The bells and whistles).
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Show more