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Ma and his ruling Kuomintang Party have promoted the pact, which faces a final review in parliament on April 8, as necessary to maintain Taiwan's competitiveness and status as an export powerhous.

Does it refer to the pact or the review of the pact?

Could you also simplify the following part: to maintain Taiwan's competitiveness and status as an export powerhouse.

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Answer for Question 1:

The phrase "as necessary" refers to "the pact". This can be seen by noting the comma-delimited, parenthetic phrase. Here is the original:

Ma and his ruling Kuomintang Party have promoted the pact , which faces a final review in parliament on April 8, as necessary to maintain Taiwan's competitiveness and status as an export powerhouse.

The comma-delimited phrase can be removed and the sentence will still be grammatically correct. This shows that the phrase "as necessary" refers to "the pact" (and not to the review).


Answer for Question 2:

The following are some options to make the sentence easier to understand:

  • Use dashes instead of commas: "Ma and his ruling Kuomintang Party have promoted the pact - which faces a final review in parliament on April 8 - as necessary to maintain Taiwan's competitiveness and status as an export powerhouse."

  • Use the passive voice: "The pact, which faces a final review in parliament on April 8, has been promoted by Ma and his ruling Kuomintang Party as necessary to maintain Taiwan's competitiveness and status as an export powerhouse."

  • Use two or more sentences: "The pact has been promoted by Ma and his ruling Kuomintang Party. They say it is necessary in order to maintain Taiwan's competitiveness and to maintain Taiwan's status as an export powerhouse. The pact faces a final review in parliament on April 8."


Reference Info: Parenthetic Phrases

Parenthetic phrases are non-restrictive relative clauses.

  • As a relative clause (aka adjectival or adjective clause), it acts as an adjective which describes the noun before it ("the pact"). Note the relative pronoun at the start of the clause (ie. "which") links the preceding noun to the rest of the clause.
  • As a "non-restrictive" relative clause (aka non-defining or non-identifying relative clause, aka "parenthetic phrase"), it is separated from the sentence with commas, dashes, or parentheses. It can be removed and the sentence will remain grammatically correct.

For example, consider the following:

  • "The dog, which was brown, was playful." can be rewritten as "The dog was playful. (And incidentally, it was brown.)" The parenthetic information is not essential to the sentence.

  • "The dog that was brown was playful." can be rewritten as "The brown dog was playful." In this case, the phrase "that was brown" is considered an essential part of the subject and if it were removed, the meaning of the sentence would be changed.

See LEO Netword / Learn English Grammar: Clauses for more information on types of clauses.

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