0

Our politicians have been pandering again. This demotivates the voters. - Entire first sentence as antecedent

When we take the bolded sentence away from its antecedent, where does that leave it grammatically both in and outside of the structure.

This is the subject of the second sentence but obviously without it's antecedent doesn't make sense alone. But is it classed as independent when paired with it's antecedent and dependent when alone ?

  • "Classed as": by whom, and for what purpose? There is no one single grammatical analysis of any language. – Colin Fine Sep 24 '18 at 17:00
  • 1
    The same thing happens with other pronouns. Removing the antecedent leaves a grammatical utterance but one that is semantically rather vacant. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Sep 24 '18 at 17:04
  • 2
    Either way, it's a main (independent) clause since it's not embedded as a dependent within some larger clause. – BillJ Sep 24 '18 at 17:13
3

The antecendent of "this" is "pandering". Grammatically the second sentence is "independent". It is an independent finite clause, and it is not subordinate to any other clause. An independent clause can contain pronouns, and these pronouns may have antecedents that are outside the clause. This does not make the clause dependent. Compare:

It sat on the mat. (Independent finite clause, and a complete sentence.)

that sat on the mat (could be a subordinate relative clause, not independent)

if it sat on the mat (Subordinate clause, with a subordinating conjuction "if")

So "Independent" does not mean "all pronouns refer to something in the same sentence". It means the clause is grammatically complete, as in the first example, but no the others.

"This demotivates the voters." (an example of an independent clause, and a complete sentence)

Removing the antecedent leaves a grammatical utterance but one that is semantically rather vacant. — Tᴚoɯɐuo

  • 1
    If you want your writing to be clear and unambiguous just avoid "This...". It leaves the reader wondering what the antecedent was supposed to be. The writer surely knew, but the reader has to guess. In the specific case does this refer to pandering or to the fact that the pandering is allegedly repeated? To avoid confusion you could write "Such cynical behaviour..." – JeremyC Sep 24 '18 at 21:49

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.