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"Association with real life events helps the author maintain the suspension of disbelief without which, a science fiction story becomes unrealistic."

I feel like "which" refers to "suspension of disbelief", but some people say it's "association with real-life events". Which interpretation is correct?

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    It's "suspension of disbelief". – BillJ Jun 11 '17 at 18:48
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    Looks like the comma is misplaced as well. I'd move it to a position right after disbelief. – Robusto Jun 11 '17 at 18:55
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    @Robusto i thought so too, but this is how it was written, and i tried to show you guys exactly what was there, in case it made a difference meaning-wise – ScorpionX108 Jun 11 '17 at 19:30
  • Is this a transcription of someone speaking? I only ask because I can definitely hear someone saying that sentence and pausing on the which. – Cantalouping Jun 12 '17 at 3:35
  • @Cantalouping i'm not sure whether it is, but it was a partof a reading text in my english test.... For some reason though, the model answer is "association with real life events"...weird.... – ScorpionX108 Jun 12 '17 at 3:47
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In your example

Association with real life events helps the author maintain the suspension of disbelief without which, a science fiction story becomes unrealistic.

which refers to the

suspension of disbelief

rephrased

without the suspension of disbelief, a science fiction story becomes unrealistic.

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    I don't find the second sentence very helpful (because it reads so ungrammatically in itself); maybe there's some other way to show the relationships? – Luke Sawczak Jun 16 '17 at 0:10
  • Sorry, i feel like the second sentence is incorrect too, as for the comma, it is in the wrong place – ScorpionX108 Jun 16 '17 at 0:13
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    I've got to disagree on this one. Association with real life events helps maintain the suspension of disbelief. But it is the suspension of disbelief that is required to avoid the story becoming unrealistic. "Without which" refers to the immediately preceding thing. – fixer1234 Jun 16 '17 at 0:38
  • @fixer1234 Yes, that is well explained – ScorpionX108 Jun 16 '17 at 1:58

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