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In the following sentence , there are two "that clause", is it a common and correct usage?

I can't really think of any companies that have scaled beyond a handful of people that I would consider to be generally ethical.

How about if i add "and" as in :"I can't really think of any companies that have scaled beyond a handful of people and that I would consider to be generally ethical." Does the meaning change?Is it confusing?

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  • It's fine. The speaker is talking about companies. Which companies? Ones that have scaled (etc.) Which ones of those? Ones that he would consider to be ethical.
    – stangdon
    Dec 27, 2022 at 15:11

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It's OK grammatically. But it's got some "elephant in my pajamas" going on, so it's quite awkward. Is the speaker trying to imagine ethical companies that scaled beyond a few people? Or is he trying to imagine marketing to more than a few ethical people? A re-write might improve things.

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Ugh. You're venturing into "business English." Yes, the above sentence is both syntactically- and grammatically-valid. Just beware: Corporate America likes to force nouns to behave like verbs ("I would like to dialogue with you about..." vs. "I'd like to have a dialogue with you...") and to manhandle passive verbs into active ones.

"I cannot think of any company I would consider to be generally ethical that has scaled beyond a handful of people," would likely be a better phrasing. Or perhaps, "I can think of only a few generally-ethical companies that have scaled beyond a handful of people."

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  • how about if i add "and" as in :"I can't really think of any companies that have scaled beyond a handful of people and that I would consider to be generally ethical." Does the meaning change?Is it confusing?
    – user166283
    Dec 28, 2022 at 6:10
  • The underlying meaning remains the same, but the introduction of the conjunction "and" does serve to knock it into more colloquially-acceptable syntax. In that case, since you've broken the statement into two, related, conjoined premises, the two "that" clauses are now non-ambiguous; each refers to its on qualifier, respectively. This grammar (containing the "and") is perfectly acceptable, and is something I could see any native speaker saying. You're simply adding two qualifiers to the same target subject. "I can't think of any companies that have both: A. Scaled and B. Remained ethical."
    – NerdyDeeds
    Jan 3, 2023 at 8:38
  • The important part here is that you're making it clear that BOTH of those qualifiers need to test true for an example subject (one the companies you cannot think of) to be included in that collective group.
    – NerdyDeeds
    Jan 3, 2023 at 8:41
  • Your "better phrasing" has reversed the meaning. Jun 14, 2023 at 12:31
  • @JackAidley "I can't really think of any companies that have scaled beyond a handful of people that I would consider to be generally ethical." is reversed by "I cannot think of any company I would consider to be generally ethical that has scaled beyond a handful of people"? Really? That's like saying "You reversed the meaning through the use of your 'better phrasing'," inverts yours.
    – NerdyDeeds
    Jun 14, 2023 at 16:37

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