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I have read a long sentence today in the article "The Universality of Science and International Cooperation" by Carlo Rubbia (The Universality of Science and International Cooperation):

It is only through stronger ties among all of us,through the realization of a truly triangular world of cooperative effort in which the United States,Europe,and Japan will be able to reinforce their respective ties, that one will be capable of planning the general scenario of the 21st century,and this within a broader picture of international cooperation among all civilized people of this planet.

  1. that clause

that one will be capable of planning the general scenario of the 21st century

Here 'that' clause is an appositives clause or not? "that one will be capable of planning the general scenario of the 21st century" describes ties?

  1. What does "this" refer to?

and this within a broader picture of international cooperation among all civilized people of this planet.

"this" means "tie", can I rewrite it as:

and the tie is within a broader picture of international cooperation among all civilized people of this planet.

or say:

and the tie depicts a broader picture of international cooperation among all civilized people of this planet.

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  1. No, the "that" clause is not in apposition to "ties". If we remove some prepositional phrases, we get:

It is only through stronger ties that one will be capable of planning the general scenario of the 21st century . . .

This has the same basic structure as:

It is only through practice that one improves.

It means that the only way in which the second event can happen ("that one will be capable of planning the general scenario of the 21st century") is through the first event ("stronger ties").1

  1. "This" probably doesn't refer to "tie"; because "ties" is plural, the author presumably would have written "these" instead. I think that "this" refers to the entire preceding clause ("it is only through . . . of the 21st century"). The grammar is somewhat unusual because this part of the sentence, which appears to be an independent clause, has no finite verb. One way (though certainly not the only way) to understand it is to assume that some words have been omitted, e.g.:

this [[must occur]] within a broader picture of international cooperation among all civilized people of this planet.


Note 1: This is a simplification. There are actually two phrases that begin with the preposition "through", and both of them describe the only way in which "one will be capable of planning the general scenario of the 21st century".

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  • it looks like the second phrase that begins with "through" is an elaboration of the first one, and both refer to the same thing.
    – Esther
    Commented May 22, 2022 at 5:28
  • @Esther Yes, I'd say that either 1) those phrases are in apposition or 2) the comma between them is a serial comma (replacing "and"). It's not clear which is meant. Commented May 22, 2022 at 15:01

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