3

I came across a sentence when I read the summary of the book RICH DAD'S GUIDE TO BECOMING RICH written by a native speaker. There is a sentence in his summary, which goes like this:

The problem with your grade is, you are the person who can fix it.

But in the book, the sentence structure is like this:

The problem with your financial problems is that only one person can fix those problems, and that person is you.

I can understand the first sentence, but I'm not sure whether it's correct or not. From what I was taught in China, 'you are the person who can fix it' is a predicative clause, so there should be used a pronoun that , but sometimes that could be omitted. What confused me is that the usage of the comma here, why it was here? Or this is a kind of informal usage?

PS: I've checked Corpus of Contemporary American English, and found that there are 40 records of "the problem is, ......." structure. It seems that this type of usage is acceptable, but what's the rule of it?

1

You are correct in that your example sentence 'The problem with your grade is, you are the person who can fix it.' is not proper English; it should be instead something like 'The problem with your grade is that you are the (only) person who can fix it.'

There are many sentences in English like this where popular or common usage (usually spoken) English will vary from the 'proper rules' of English; this is one of them. The phrase "The problem [with XX] is, ...' is commonly used and quite often omits an implied 'that' following the 'is'.

  • 1
    Perhaps not omits the "that", as replace it with a comma. The comma is there because when spoken, there's a pause after "is", while if "is that" had been used there would not be a pause. – John Burger Sep 3 '16 at 7:19
0

The main reason this sentence doesn't work on many levels is that it is a bit of a play on words. Logically stated, the sentence would read: The problem with your grades is that they are not high enough for you to remain in the athletics program. That all said, the reason the suggested sentence in the summary does not work is this: the linking verb is should be linking equal parts; however, problem does not equal you. The problem is something else. This type of grammatical error is often called mixed construction- where the first half of the sentence does not match up to the second half of the sentence. In this case the sentence can be corrected in a couple of ways. For example: The problem with your grade is your being the only one who can fix it. OR as stated above, The problem with your grade is that (a.k.a. the fact that) you are the only one who can fix it. ALSO The problem with your grade is this: you are the only one who can fix it. (Here, problem is this, not problem is you). I hope this helps!

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.