The rescue capsule Fénix was designed by the Chilean Navy in collaboration with NASA to rescue the 33 miners trapped underground in Chile's San José copper mine. Painted in the red, white, and blue colors of Chile, the Fénix looked like a military missile. The device was nearly 3.95 meters high on the outside, and the inside was 1.9 meters high and about 51 centimeters across, which was just enough room for an adult male. When mobilized by the rescue team, the Fénix was equipped with an emergency oxygen supply. The bottom of the capsule held three tanks of air, which would provide enough air for one person to breathe for about 90 minutes. This amount of air was more than needed for the 15 to 20 minutes that the trip to the surface was expected to take. It also had a communication system so that the miners could speak to the surface while being lifted up. 

Hi, I'm curious to know what is the object of "take" as in this sentence "This amount of ait was more than needed for the 15 to 20 minutes that the trip to the surface was expected to take".

  1. This amount of air.

  2. The 15 to 20 minutes.

  3. Either 1 or 2 according to context.

I think the right answer is 1.

1 Answer 1


Actually, the object of the verb "take'' is the relative pronoun "that" which is representing the phrase "15 to 20 minutes", which is the amount of time that it takes to reach the surface.

So, yeah. The answer is the second alternative - 15 to 20 minutes.

  • Isn't there any possibility that the object of "take" is "the amount of air". If there isn't, could you explain why?
    – GKK
    Aug 13, 2019 at 13:55
  • 1
    No. the clause is "that the trip was expected to take" and it modifies the noun phrase that preceds it, ie "fifteen to twenty minutes". There is no ambiguity. Even in a forced context "The banana on the table that he was going to eat" simply seem odd. You would probably be forced to interpret that as "eat the banana", simply because the actual meaing "eat the table" is too weird.
    – James K
    Aug 13, 2019 at 14:12
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    @SinK If it had been referring to air, the sentence would have read the amount of air that the trip was expected to take. Everything after for is a separate part of the sentence: this amount of air was more than needed for [X], where [X] is a noun phrase and can be considered a kind of black box as far as the amount of air is concerned. In fact, you could almost think of [X] as being the object of the amount of air, rather than the amount of air being an object of anything at all. (In reality, the amount of air is the subject of the sentence.) Aug 13, 2019 at 14:13

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