I was reading The Economist and found this sentence whose grammar I'm not familiar with.

Indeed, in the first round he got a vote 80% that of Emmanuel Macron’s.

I was wondering how that of works in the sentence.

"Indeed, in the first round he got a vote 80% the vote of Emmanuel Macron’s" strikes my ears as odd somehow.

Thank you.


2 Answers 2


In this phrase, 'that' is being used as a pronoun, standing in for the noun 'the vote'. So perhaps it could be read as:

Indeed, in the first round he got a vote 80% of the vote of Emmanuel Macron's.

In less terse, more readable wording, one might say:

Indeed, in the first round, the votes he received totalled 80% of the votes received by Emmanuel Macron.

Edit: to answer your question in comments about whether the original sentence is proper English, my opinion is: just barely.

It reflects a style choice by The Economist to use as few words as possible, and makes the sentence difficult and awkward to read, even to a native speaker of English. It's not incorrect, but it's really not great. An editor from another magazine (or an editor paying more attention) would probably have rewritten it to be more like my last example above. Even a simple change to:

Indeed, in the first round he got a vote which was 80% that of Emmanuel Macron's.

would have made it much easier to read, and more correct.

  • Thank you for your reply. I know 'that' is a pronoun. It's just that "Indeed, in the first round he got a vote 80% the vote of Emmanuel Macron’s" sounds funny. Sorry that I didn't make myself clear. Apr 13, 2019 at 13:14
  • I agree, the original sentence is quite awkward. And that's okay, I thought that might be part of your question, that's why I included a clearer example. Has my answer clarified this enough for you, or would more explanation be helpful?
    – Johnny
    Apr 13, 2019 at 13:18
  • 1
    I wonder whether the original one is proper English. Apr 13, 2019 at 13:21
  • 1
    Another oddity is that the original sentence and some of the rewrites include a double genitive, "of Emmanuel Macron's".
    – nanoman
    Apr 13, 2019 at 22:08
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    I'm still not convinced it's correct English: "He got a vote (quantity)" doesn't work for me because it's not "a vote" singular. You could say "He got a share of the vote which was (quantity)", but that's more simply put as "His share of the vote was".
    – Rup
    Apr 14, 2019 at 0:55

It is awkward, but doesn't need to be to be short. I like to avoid got so I came up with:

Indeed, in the first round of votes he received 80% of Emmanuel Macron's


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