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Is this sentence grammatical? :

More and more research is surfacing that shows us the benefits of the thousands of colorful “phytochemicals” (phyto=plant) that exist in foods.


If it is, why? I can't understand the absence of the antecedent. If the antecedent in this sentence is 'research', than is it right to say that-clause can be inversed solely?

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  • What does "inversed solely" mean?
    – gotube
    Jun 19, 2023 at 18:45

1 Answer 1

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Yes, the antecedent is "research".

Consider that the alternative form, with no inversion, would be to put the predicate "is surfacing" at the very end. Then it would be separated from the subject by 15 words, including a secondary buried clause! That's very difficult to parse, because suspending the resolution of the predicate leads to fatigue or lack of working memory.

So instead we get the predicate out of the way first, and then go on to qualify the research using the relative clause.

This is when we are careful. The quote is clearly a written one. In regular oral conversation you might not foresee this suspension and end up wading through it. In that case we often repeat the subject somewhat clumsily:

More and more research that shows us the benefits of the thousands of colorful “phytochemicals” that exist in foods — more and more of that research is surfacing.

Or we change the structure, e.g.:

There's been more and more research that shows us the benefits of the thousands of colorful “phytochemicals” that exist in foods.

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