grammar questions

lixxx253
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2011 4:16 am

grammar questions

Postby lixxx253 » Sun May 06, 2012 8:54 am

hello, I have a grammar question from one of the prep test. The sentence goes like this:
The advertisement proceeds by understating the role that pride plays in accounting for the success of Austin Stables.
And in order for me to understand the grammar, I use parentheses to separate the sentence as below:
The advertisement proceeds by understating the role (that pride plays in) (accounting for the success of Austin Stables).

My question is: since (that pride plays in) is already describing the role, and it seems to me (accounting for the success of Austin Stables) is also describing the role, is this sentence grammatically correct by using two of the phrases after one noun (the role)? I am more used to sentence with one phrase after a noun, such as,
The advertisement proceeds by understating the role that pride plays.
Or,
The advertisement proceeds by understating the role accounting for the success of Austin Stables.

Not sure if I explain my question well, since English is really not my first language, but I hope you get my point.

Thank you very much for helping my grammar.

User avatar
dingbat
Posts: 4976
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:12 pm

Re: grammar questions

Postby dingbat » Sun May 06, 2012 9:15 am

deleted because the next answer is far better
Last edited by dingbat on Sun May 06, 2012 10:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

tomwatts
Posts: 1551
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:01 am

Re: grammar questions

Postby tomwatts » Sun May 06, 2012 10:05 am

lixxx253 wrote:hello, I have a grammar question from one of the prep test. The sentence goes like this:
The advertisement proceeds by understating the role that pride plays in accounting for the success of Austin Stables.
And in order for me to understand the grammar, I use parentheses to separate the sentence as below:
The advertisement proceeds by understating the role (that pride plays in) (accounting for the success of Austin Stables).

You'd be better off analyzing it like this:

The advertisement proceeds by understating the role (that pride plays) (in accounting for the success of Austin Stables). Alternatively, analyze it like this: The advertisement proceeds (by understating the role) (that pride plays) (in accounting) (for the success) (of Austin Stables).

Grammatically, what's going on here is that there's a subordinate clause ("that pride plays in accounting for the success of Austin Stables") that contains a prepositional phrase ("in accounting for the success of Austin Stables" — well, that's three prepositional phrases, really). Imagine that turned into an independent clause:

Pride plays a role in accounting for the success of Austin Stables.

What's happening is that "role" is the object of the verb "plays" and the "in account" phrase is modifying... uh... probably "plays," really; prepositional phrases can modify anything, but intuitively, it seems as though it goes with the verb.

This means that you shouldn't think of "accounting" as a participle (adjective) modifying a nearby noun, though. It's an object of the preposition "in" (a gerund, a noun).

The sentence is grammatically correct (and not unwieldy — I'm not sure what the previous poster was talking about).

lixxx253
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2011 4:16 am

Re: grammar questions

Postby lixxx253 » Mon May 07, 2012 10:14 am

Hi tomwatts, thank you so much, and it is clear and well explained! In my first post, I just analyzed it from a wrong angle, and thank you for pointing me the right direction. Also a lot grammar vocabulary really helps me out.

Incidentally, I just happened to see another sentence which might fit my original concern, and it goes like:
There is no dishwasher currently available that effectively cleans pans.

Using my old analyzing method, I will separate it like this:
There is no dishwasher (currently available) (that effectively cleans pans).

To my understanding, (currently available) is an attribute (? not sure about this word though) , (that effectively cleans pans) is an attribute (?), and both are modifying dishwasher. Therefore, the structure is that two attributes after an object (refer to the dishwasher). Is this grammatically correct? Or am I wrong again in my analysis?

Thank you!

tomwatts
Posts: 1551
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:01 am

Re: grammar questions

Postby tomwatts » Mon May 07, 2012 12:06 pm

Your analysis is correct, and the sentence is correct.

Obviously, it's pretty common to have two words modifying another word, e.g. "The car is fast and red." Both "fast" and "red" describe "car." The only difference between that simple situation and the situation that bothers you is the "and." You might ask, why don't we need an "and" when we have two things modifying "dishwasher" in your example sentence?

I'm not sure what the answer is, but my guess is that subordinate clauses ("that effectively cleans pans") are different enough from adjectives ("available") that they don't normally get linked with an "and." You could say, "There is no dishwasher that is currently available and that effectively cleans pans." You could say, "There is no dishwasher currently available and effective at cleaning pans." But saying "There is no dishwasher currently available and that effectively cleans pans" seems unusual somehow.

lixxx253
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2011 4:16 am

Re: grammar questions

Postby lixxx253 » Tue May 08, 2012 6:50 am

Thank you for the detailed explanation! It totally solves my problem with the issue.




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