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The sentence:
It's not that the evildoer is punished at the story's end which makes reading fairy stories an experience in moral education, although this is part of it


I know somehow what "this" and "it" refer to: "this" to "that the evildoer is punished at the story's end", and "it" to "an experience in moral education". But let's suppose you are an ESL teacher. How do you explain it grammatically? I myself really don't know how.

Any suggestion?
Comments  
Just as you did, Taka-- it is only semantics which allows us to equate 'this' with 'that the evildoer is punished at the story's end' and 'it' with 'an experience in moral education'.

I suppose that you could ask the students to examine the main clause and ask them to discover what 'is part of' what-- but I'd warrant that many students (at least many of my students) would never figure it out.
I'd warrant that many students (at least many of my students) would never figure it out.


Right. And that's what I'm afraid of.Emotion: sad

As you are living in Japan (Yokohama, right?), you might have noticed that many Japanese learners wouldn't accept anything unless it is grammatically explained...

Another question to ask, MM.

Why can't it be "it's part of this"? Or can it be?
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No, it can't be. 'This' is a demonstrative pronoun referring to the thesis in the main clause, while 'it' serves to refer to the whole singular noun phrase 'reading fairy stories an experience in moral education'... I think.

Maybe I'll see my way more clearly in the morning. And with luck, another mod will pop in with a lucid explanation in the meantime.

I do, by the way, spend a good bit of my time trying to get students to stop thinking and start talking. That's what native speakers do, after all.
No, it can't be. 'This' is a demonstrative pronoun referring to the thesis in the main clause, while 'it' serves to refer to the whole singular noun phrase 'reading fairy stories an experience in moral education'... I think.


I know. But that analysis comes from your understanding that "this" refers to the thesis while "it" does to "reading experience...", right? If, as you say, it is only semantics which allows us to equate the reference with its referent, then there should be a possibility that, instead of saying "this is a part of it", you can say "it's a part of this", using "it" for the thesis and "this" for the experience.

What do you think?
My two cents.

You could use the less elegant "although it is part of it", but (don't ask me why) "it's a part of this" just doesn't work, not without some brain strain, anyway!

It may be that the demonstrative pronoun "this" does not seem right as the object of a preposition. Its main use seems to be as subject, referring back to another subject or to an entire clause.

It may be that "this" is normally first in order in combinations with "that" or "it".

It's not that the evildoer is punished at the story's end which makes reading fairy stories an experience in moral education, although this is part of it.

Curiously, "it" refers to something not explicitly stated.

It's not [x / this / that] which makes y z,
although [x / this / that / it ] is part of [ [what / that which] makes y z / it / ?that].

x = (the fact) that the evildoer is punished at the story's end - "the fact" required after "although"
y = reading fairy stories
z = an experience in moral education
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Curiously, "it" refers to something not explicitly stated.


But isn't it clearly stated in this case?
No, I wouldn't not say that it is clearly stated.
It's not that the evildoer is punished at the story's end which makes reading fairy stories an experience in moral education, although this is part of it.


The antecedent of "it" is "that which makes reading fairy stories an experience in moral education". I was referring to the absence of the underlined item in the sentence. (The "that" after "not" doesn't qualify.)

CJ