7

Please help me to understand the meaning of following paragraph; I'm having particular trouble with the part that reads "that of":

It is also extraordinarily difficult to meet the third criterion for causal studies, that of controlling for all other potential causal influences.

Please paraphrase it, many thanks

migrated from english.stackexchange.com Jan 7 '14 at 12:40

This question came from our site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts.

15

The that here is not subordinating, but adjectival.

the third criterion for causal studies, that of controlling

is the same as

the third criterion for causal studies, that [criterion] of controlling

or

the third criterion for causal studies, [the criterion] of controlling

or

the third criterion for causal studies, [i.e. the criterion] of controlling

So, what the sentence says, is

  1. It is very difficult to meet the third criterion.
  2. The third criterion is "controlling for all other potential influences".
  • 2
    I like the way it's said in your fourth wording: It is also extraordinarily difficult to meet the third criterion for causal studies, that is, the criterion of controlling for all other potential causal influences. It's specifying which of the criteria is being referred to as the "third" one, sparing the reader the trouble of going back to an earlier paragraph where that information has been presumably specified. – J.R. Jan 7 '14 at 13:33
  • " that is" what I thought – learner Jan 7 '14 at 18:24
  • How is it "adjectival" here? – Paul Dexter Jul 31 '18 at 9:54
  • @PaulDexter I don't understand the question. There are three varieties of that, subordinating, demonstrative, adjectival. That's just what they are called. These are the terms. And between the three varieties, the one we're looking at here is quite clearly the last one, and quite clearly neither of the other two. What exactly is your question. – ЯegDwight Jul 31 '18 at 10:00
  • @ЯegDwight Do you have a link about these? I can't find anything online about adjectival that. The closest kind of that I can find in Wiktionary and Wikipedia is what they call a "demonstrative adjective". Is this what you mean? – Paul Dexter Aug 1 '18 at 4:20
5

"That of" is mostly used to compare two things (that is used as a pronoun).

Example:

The population of New York is greater than the population of San Diego.

Can be transformed to:

The population of New York is greater than that of San Diego.

  • 2
    That's true, but that's not really the case in the O.P.'s sentence, I don't think. – J.R. Jan 7 '14 at 13:30
  • 1
    J.R.: I disagree. I think it is exactly the case in the OP's sentence, and I think Bala's "pronoun" is more accurate than Reg's "adjectival". – Colin Fine Jan 7 '14 at 16:35
1

It is also extraordinarily difficult to meet the third criterion for causal studies, that of controlling for all other potential causal influences.

maps to

It is also extraordinarily difficult to meet the third criterion for causal studies, (which is) controlling for all other potential causal influences.

so

that ofwhich is

0

While 'that' has many meanings, the meaning here is defined by Merriam-Webster.com as:

that, pronoun
...
1c : the kind or thing specified as follows * the purest water is that produced by distillation
...

Using this definition, 'that' implies there is more than one kind or thing, and the phrase following 'that' will specify which kind or thing is being referred to. Recall the original sentence:

It is also extraordinarily difficult to meet the third criterion for causal studies, that of controlling for all other potential causal influences.

In the original sentence, 'that' is a pronoun in apposition with the preceding noun phrase 'the third criterion ...' This definition of 'that' implies that there is more than one criterion. The following phrase 'of controlling for...' specifies which criterion is being referred to.

A paraphrase could be:

It is also extraordinarily difficult to meet the third criterion for causal studies, which is the criterion of controlling for all other potential causal influences.

-3

In this case, I believe that "that of" is the equivalent of "viz." [Latin videlicet] or "i.e."

  • You believe? Do you have anything to back this up? viz certainly doesn't work as a replacement for 'that of' in the example sentence. – Chenmunka Mar 27 '17 at 8:03

Your Answer

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