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I am reading a book about modeling and solving problems using software, and I found this sentence:

Simulation is sometimes so easy to sell to managers that analytical solutions that can yield optimal results are often overlooked.

I feel that the sentence is not understandable because of the two that, should any of them be than?

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  • It's perfectly sensible. Why do you think two "that"s are a problem?
    – M.A.R.
    Jan 4 '15 at 19:10
  • @MARamezani because I couldn't understand the sentence, I thought that the author meant that the simulation is better than the analytical solutions. right? Jan 4 '15 at 19:17
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Simulation is sometimes so easy to sell to managers that analytical solutions that can yield optimal results are often overlooked.

The best thing to do in order to find the meaning of these kind of sentences is to "break it down to pieces".

I'll suggest the first "degradation" to divide this sentence to two:

Simulation is sometimes so easy to sell to managers...

and

...that analytical solutions that can yield optimal results are often overlooked.

The first part emphasizes on the ease that simulation can be sold to managers. (I think here sell means make them accept)

The first "that" we encounter gives us a reason why the first is true, or better say, it can even work as an "exaggeration". Omit it, and we get:

...analytical solutions that can yield optimal results are often overlooked.

This, can act as a separate sentence. Take a look at it. The same structure that we saw in the main sentence can be observed here. We could just degrade it the same way! I leave it to you to figure out.

To make a long story short, the first "that" explains that simulation is so easy to sell to managers. The second "that" explains something about analytical solutions. Easy as cake, wouldn't you say? :D

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"Simulation is sometimes so easy to sell to managers that analytical solutions that can yield optimal results are often overlooked".

The sentence is perfectly correct grammatically as explained below:

When we use the adverb "so" in the form of "so + adj + that, it modifies the adjective and means "to such a degree that". We often use "that" but sometimes it is omitted.

As for the second "that" used after solutions, it's a necessary part of the identifying relative clause "that can yield optimal results", which modifies "analytical solutions". If you just say "analytical solutions are often overlooked", it means all analytical solutions are often overlooked. But if you want to identify as to which identical solutions, you will have to add the identifying relative clause "that can yield optimal results" for your sentence to convey full sense.

The use of "than"that is usually used to compare two persons or things doesn't fit in the sentence; its use here will make the sentence nonsensical.

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