I know this is a relatively easy question but I'm in disagreement with my teacher and his book, since non of them is written by a native, I decided to ask you guys to help me with this:

  1. The National Security Council serves to advise the president on ........ foreign, and military policies related to national security.

A-domestic B-voluntary C-relative D-subjective

Also a quick side note, I don't know if this is a normal thing, but in this book everywhere that a comma was necessary, there is one. Like if after the blank a comma was necessary, it would either put a comma after the blank or put a comma at the end of each choice.

Now what the teacher said is that A is correct and translated the sentence to "... domestic policies, foreign policies and military policies...", and used the word as a noun.

What I said was that since there is no comma, if we put "domestic" there, it would act as an adjective and would be "... domestic foreign policies...", which is nonsense, so I thought C suits the best, we put it as an adjective to be translated to something like this "... relative foreign and military policies (meaning those policies that are enacted by the president and are relative to him, because some are enacted by the army or the ministry of foreign affairs itself)... "

My teacher doesn't agree, but can't seem to convince me, he doesn't explain anything, (and said that I'm discussing BS), so I wondered, first who is correct here? Second if he is correct, is there some sort of a rule making "domestic" just to be viable as a noun there, that I don't know of?

Thanks in advance, Aaron

2 Answers 2


Notice in your sentence the presence of the comma before the word and, called an "Oxford comma":

The National Security Council serves to advise the president on ........ foreign, (comma) and military policies related to national security.

The presence of this comma indicates that the list has at least three items. In the context of your sentence, this means that the NSC advises the president on:

  1. _______ policies
  2. foreign policies
  3. military policies

The only word out of your four options that makes sense in this context is the word domestic, which is the answer your teacher provides.

You are correct, though, that putting the word domestic in that sentence would create the notion of two policies: domestic foreign policies and military policies. Therefore it seems most likely that your textbook forgot to add a comma after the blank space. If not, then your textbook incorrectly added a comma before the word and.

So your teacher is right that domestic is the right word to use, but you are also right that a comma should be placed after the blank so that the sentence makes sense. Otherwise, the comma that the textbook added after and is incorrectly added.

  • Thanks for your super quick response, now this question was in our quiz as an "easy question copy-pasted straight from your textbook" , and the main reason I got into disagreement with my teacher was that I said this question was not correct in the exam and he insisted that it was correct and he said "even if it wasn't, your other choices don't fit the sentence", now, it seems he doesn't agree to delete this if it only has a typo, am I correct to assume "relative" could be the answer as well, I mean what I said using "relative," why doesn't it make sense?
    – Aaron
    May 3, 2020 at 21:26
  • @Aaron The term "relative" has to do with things that are related or similar to other things. For example, scientific measurements are usually made relative to other measurements, like temperature, time, etc. As far as I am aware, the term does not refer to origin: in other words, when policies are relative to the president that does not indicate that the policies are created or enacted by the president, but instead that the policies are related to or similar to the president, which is abnormal because the president is a person and policies are not.
    – Kman3
    May 3, 2020 at 22:28
  • Sorry, instead of "similar" I should have written "connected": related to or connected to the president.
    – Kman3
    May 3, 2020 at 22:36

It would be domestic, but there should be a comma there. I think whoever wrote the book either accidentally removed the commas after blanks when adding the blanks, or they intend for you to fill the blank with "domestic," adding your own comma.

  • Also, don't feel bad that your teacher doesn't consider your question important enough to warrant further discussion. Teachers can be a bit short sometimes. Talking about how a book is written when you're supposed to be focusing on the subject matter throws their lesson plans off course. Making sure all your students are on the same page and the material isn't confusing should also be a priority of theirs you could argue. I remember I once missed a lesson on inequalities, and my elementary math teacher just told me, when I asked how to do them, to "choose answers at random". Sigh
    – Rosy
    Mar 21, 2023 at 15:02

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