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English translation: the facilitator of a compound sentence fragment with grammatical finesse

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:those
English translation:the facilitator of a compound sentence fragment with grammatical finesse
Entered by: R. A. Stegemann
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13:15 Dec 29, 2003
English to English translations [PRO]
Linguistics / Linguistics
English term or phrase: sentence grammar
Certainly not by asking only those who the government is sure make use of the service.

Do you find anything wrong with this sentence? If so, how would you improve upon it? I am baffled by its seemingly ungrammatical persuasiveness, but have lived so long in East Asia that I am no longer confident about using it.
R. A. Stegemann
Saudi Arabia
Local time: 22:17
only those the Government ...
Explanation:
Try omitting the "who". The "who" interrupts the sense and flow by making "those" into the subject of something. You're looking for a verb to go with it, and it's not there. In fact, they seem to be the object of the Government's supposition, so they don't need a "who".

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2003-12-29 15:20:47 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

You don\'t need to add \"people\" or anthing else to \"those\". \"Those\" *means* \"those people/things/places\". What you need here is to remove the blocks to the flow.
Selected response from:

Pippin Michelli
Local time: 07:17
Grading comment
BINGO!

You have resolved my grammatical quandry. The word "those" plays a dual, crucial, but grammatically subtle role in this compound, non-sentence answer to a question.

1) Certainly not by asking _those_ who make use of the service.
2) The government is sure (that) _they_ make use of the service.

The structural fillers "who" and "that" have been eliminated by assigning a dual role to the word those: that of an object and that of a subject. A true grammatical finesse. Only a native, or near native speaker of English could write like this. I feel assured.

Bravo to us both!

Thank you everyone for your suggestions. Some of them were quite good, others not.


4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
5Strictly, this is only a clauseDavid Moore
5clause
Jonathan Spector
5add two commas
NancyLynn
4 +1proposal
Kim Metzger
4not a complete sentenceRHELLER
4Certainly not by asking only those (people) known by the government...
jerrie
4 -1only those the Government ...Pippin Michelli
3contexthelenagran


  

Answers


6 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
Certainly not by asking only those (people) known by the government...


Explanation:
....to make use of the service

Definitely not by just asking those (people) who definitely make use of the service, as indicated/according to the government (data/figures etc)

I think your sentence is OK
Above suggestions just to clarify

jerrie
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:17
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 23
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5 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
proposal


Explanation:
I'd say it's correct but difficult to understand at first. Proposal: Certainly not be asking only those, who in the opinion of the government, are sure make use of the service.


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 11 mins (2003-12-29 13:26:32 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Correction: Certainly not by asking only those who, in the opinion of the government, are sure to make use of the service.

Kim Metzger
Mexico
Local time: 07:17
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 187

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Marian Greenfield: Hi Kim. Definitely awkward, but correct. Your correction is much better. Saludos,
12 mins
  -> Hamo's sentence is in fact a fragment, but sometimes fragments work nicely. Do you need more coffee? Certainly not the kind you've been brewing.
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17 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
add two commas


Explanation:
Certainly not by asking only those who, the government is sure, make use of the service.


NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 08:17
Works in field
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 26
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18 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
context


Explanation:
It doesn't sound right, can you explain what you mean?

helenagran
Portugal
Local time: 13:17
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18 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
Strictly, this is only a clause


Explanation:
It is missing an active main verb, and should be preceded by a comma and "decapitalised". It certainly HAS a verb, but that is in a subordinate clause.
Colloquially, or in a newspaper, this would be quite acceptable, and is becoming so in more "official" English.
In summary, I'd say if it fits the rest of your article (or whatever), leave it as it is - it'll be understood!

David Moore
Local time: 14:17
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 28
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21 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
clause


Explanation:
It isn't a complete sentence-- it's missing a subject and predicate. How about this?
It should certainly not be done by asking only those who the government is sure make use of the service.

Jonathan Spector
Israel
Local time: 15:17
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
not a complete sentence


Explanation:

This sentence does not make sense. Do not use it, IMO.

I assume it is preceded by a statement such as, "how can we be sure that..."
this would be acceptable if this is a transcript of a telephone conversation, for example. Otherwise, the sentence is incorrect and incomprehensible.

The best possibility is to lengthen the previous phrase, as clarification.

other possibilities:

...asking those people which the government thinks are sure to make use of the service. (this is not a complete sentence, the subject is missing)

It is not certain that by asking those (noun is required here: participants, users) which the government thinks will make use of this service.


It is not by asking those participants
The best way (to do that) is not by asking

turn the negative into a positive phrase:

We cannot rely on the responses of those people which the government thinks will make use of this service. (sounds like a hypothetical statement; sure sounds awkward here)


RHELLER
United States
Local time: 06:17
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 59
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): -1
only those the Government ...


Explanation:
Try omitting the "who". The "who" interrupts the sense and flow by making "those" into the subject of something. You're looking for a verb to go with it, and it's not there. In fact, they seem to be the object of the Government's supposition, so they don't need a "who".

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2003-12-29 15:20:47 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

You don\'t need to add \"people\" or anthing else to \"those\". \"Those\" *means* \"those people/things/places\". What you need here is to remove the blocks to the flow.

Pippin Michelli
Local time: 07:17
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 8
Grading comment
BINGO!

You have resolved my grammatical quandry. The word "those" plays a dual, crucial, but grammatically subtle role in this compound, non-sentence answer to a question.

1) Certainly not by asking _those_ who make use of the service.
2) The government is sure (that) _they_ make use of the service.

The structural fillers "who" and "that" have been eliminated by assigning a dual role to the word those: that of an object and that of a subject. A true grammatical finesse. Only a native, or near native speaker of English could write like this. I feel assured.

Bravo to us both!

Thank you everyone for your suggestions. Some of them were quite good, others not.


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  RHELLER: this sentence is still awkward
50 mins
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