0

In the game "XCOM: Enemy Within" there is a guy, whose way of speaking seems to be more appropriate for written language (as it seems to me). In particular, he says such a phrase:

Intelligence sources indicate a rogue organization, with a separate, misguided agenda, is undermining XCOM field operations.

My question is about grammatical structure of this sentence

  • What is "is" referred to? To the word "organization?" If so, then is the word "that" omitted?
  • Is such sentence construction used in speech?
  • "Is" is the subordinate clause verb whose subject is "a rogue organization with a separate misguided agenda". The subordinate clause is called a content clause, also known as a that clause. The subordinator "that" is omissible in this example. – BillJ Aug 16 '17 at 18:18
  • What makes you think it's a passive clause? – BillJ Aug 16 '17 at 18:37
  • @BillJ nothing now. I haven't properly understood the construction of a phrase. – Michael Freimann Aug 16 '17 at 19:20
2

This is a situation where dashes should have been used instead of commas.

Intelligence sources indicate a rogue organization--with a separate, misguided agenda--is undermining XCOM field operations.

The entire with ... phrase is an appositive, and here you can more clearly see that the subject of is is "a rogue organization."

Is such sentence construction used in speech?

You can use it in speech. It would actually work better in speech as tonal variation would make it obvious that "with a separate, misguided agenda" is an interruption in the outer sentence.


Whether or not that appears after is can change the meaning of the sentence, and this is because to be is a copular verb that is used to link a subject and description.

Intelligence sources indicate a rogue organization is undermining XCOM field operations.

Some activity is happening right now that is undermining field operations.

Intelligence sources indicate a rogue organization that is undermining XCOM field operations.

The rogue organization's purpose is undermining operations, but we aren't really commenting necessarily on any current activity.

| improve this answer | |
  • As I understand, the idea is that the sources indicate the undermining of operations, while if I add a word "that" before "is", the sentence will be focused on the fact that there exists an organization, which is doing something. Is this correct? – Michael Freimann Aug 16 '17 at 18:08
  • See updates to my answer. – LawrenceC Aug 16 '17 at 18:14
  • Got it. Should I says "thanks" in the comments or it is done just by accepting the answer (like on TEX.SE)? – Michael Freimann Aug 16 '17 at 18:17
  • But @LawrenceC : appostives are noun phrases, but "with a separate, misguided agenda" is a PP, not an NP. It is a modifier though of the head "organisation". – BillJ Aug 16 '17 at 18:22
  • You're right ... so is it OK to set off PPs with dashes? – LawrenceC Aug 16 '17 at 18:23

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.