+0

They discovered a range of terms that children used to call 'truce' on playfighting or chasing that were specific to their regional location.


Q1) Is the above sentence well written?

Q2)What does "that" in "that were specific" refer to?

Q3)If "that" in Q2 is referring to "terms", should there be "and" as in "and that were specific.." because two 'thats" are connected to "terms"?

+1
fire1Q1) Is the above sentence well written?

I find it slightly awkward to read because of the ambiguity of "used to". It is possible to start reading this as meaning that the children gave the name "truce" to those terms. Then when this interpretation does not work out, one has to go back and look again for the correct one, which is that the children invoked those terms in order to call a truce.

fire1Q2)What does "that" in "that were specific" refer to?
fire1Q3)If "that" in Q2 is referring to "terms", should there be "and" as in "and that were specific.." because two 'thats" are connected to "terms"?

I interpret it as a nested "that" structure; i.e. "[X that Y] that Z".

+1

They discovered a range of [terms that children used to call 'truce' on playfighting or chasing _____ [that _____ were specific to their regional location]].


Yes, it's well-written. Why would you doubt something that was written by a professional writer and edited by a professional editor before publication?

"That" doesn't refer to anything – strictly speaking it's a subordinator not a relative pronoun. Like all that relatives, the missing relativised element is represented by the '_____' notation (called gap), as I've shown.

The integrated (defining) relative construction is recursive: an integrated relative can combine with its antecedent to form a larger unit which is antecedent for a second relative.

Here, that children used to call truce on playfighting or chasing combines with its antecedent terms to give terms that children used to call 'truce' on playfighting or chasing and this is then the antecedent for the second relative, that were specific to their regional location.

This type of recursion is called stacking.

Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
1 2
Comments  
GPYGPY

Maybe.. Is the first "that" referring to "a range of terms" or 'a range" and the second "that" referring to "terms", given that the second verb "were" is plural?

Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
fire1Is the first "that" referring to "a range of terms" or 'a range" and the second "that" referring to "terms", given that the second verb "were" is plural?

As I said before, I take "that" as a subordinator, but for those who take it as a relative pronoun the first "that" refers to "terms".

The second "that" would then refer to terms that children used to call 'truce' on playfighting or chasing. Again, see my first answer.

BillJBillJ

Oh.. I get what you are taking about.

Then,,, can I stack "that" as many as I can as below?


They discovered a range of terms that children used to call 'truce' on playfighting or chasing that were specific to their regional location that were..?

fire1
BillJBillJ

Oh.. I get what you are taking about. Then,,, can I stack "that" as many as I can as below?

They discovered a range of terms that children used to call 'truce' on playfighting or chasing that were specific to their regional location that were..?

Yes, that's what 'recursive' means, as I said in my first answer.

Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
BillJBillJ

They discovered a range of terms [that children used to call 'truce' on playfighting or chasing that were specific to their regional location] that were...

I have two more questions. Would you help me out once again? Thanks a lot BillJ as always.

Q1) As the bracketed part [ ] defines "terms", is the third "that" refers to "terms [ ]", not only "terms"?

Q2) In the original example, if I add "and" in front of the second "that", does the meaning of the sentence change and is it not wrong? I'd guess it's not wrong and the adding of "and" will not change the meaning, but only stylistically not good.

Q1. Yes, the third "that" refers to terms that children used to call 'truce' on playfighting or chasing that were specific to their regional location.

Q2. It would change the structure and the meaning, since the last clause would become a coordinate relative with "terms" as antecedent rather than a stacked one.

Show more