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Example with a context:

Her comments echo that heard from Kremlin critics since the killing such as activist Alexei Navalny, who accused "the country's political leadership" of ordering a hit on Nemtsov.

I actually have two questions about this paragraph.

  1. echo that (which is) heard from - is that how you should understand that part?

  2. I don't really understand what exactly they mean by since the killing. Is it like he wasn't a Kremlin critic before the killing took place and became one only after it had happened?

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  • Her comments are very similar to what has come, in the aftermath of the killing, from critics of the Kremlin, such as activist Alexei Navalny, who.... "Heard...since the killing"
    – TimR
    Commented Mar 8, 2015 at 14:17
  • "(witch is)" should be "(which is)".
    – cpast
    Commented Mar 8, 2015 at 21:53

3 Answers 3

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In the sentence, that should really be those, like this:

Her comments echo those heard from Kremlin critics since the killing such as activist Alexei Navalny, who accused "the country's political leadership" of ordering a hit on Nemtsov.

"Those heard from" means "comments heard from".

"Since the killing" functions as an adverb, modifying "heard".

Breaking it down, here is what the sentence means:

  • Nemtsov's daughter's comments echo other comments (those or that in the original sentence).

  • Those other comments were made by Kremlin critics--that is, by people who criticize the Kremlin. Alexy Navaly is one of those Kremlin critics.

  • Those other comments were heard since the killing.

So, those Kremlin critics were already Kremlin critics before the killing. The relevant comments are the comments made by the critics since (after) the killing. Those comments were heard after the killing, too.

Saying "heard from Kremlin critics" instead of "made by Kremlin critics" is just a way to make the sentence more interesting. The word "heard" makes you think of people talking and listening and conversing. "Made by" is more abstract, so it wouldn't make you imagine the chatter of the critics as vividly. News stories often describe things in this slightly indirect way.

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  1. I agree.

  2. "Since the killing" gives a point in time, in this case the date from which on critics made an accusation. One could in this case also write "since 02/27/2015". But in this example, the event is what is important, not the date on which it happened, so the author uses the phrase "since the killing".
    The pattern [since] [event] is not unusual, some random examples: "since my graduation", "since the release of the movie", "since the birth of his son" - all could be substituted with a date, but the information what makes the date special would be lost.

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The relevant words here are "comments heard ... since the killing". The comments were heard after the killing took place. If we take this one sentence with no context, we can't say whether the comments were made before the killing but not "heard" until after, that is, no one paid attention; or if the comments were made after the killing. Likewise the sentence doesn't say whether the "Kremlin critics" were critics before the killing, or were motivated to become critics by the killing.

Note the sentence is grammatically incorrect on several points.

(a) It should almost surely be "those heard from" and not "that heard from", unless we are supposed to understand that there was only one comment that "her comments" echo. That is, one person made one comment, and then "she" has multiple comments that echo that one comment.

(b) There should be a comma after "since the killing", to separate out the clauses.

(c) The antecedent of "such as" is garbled. The sentence refer to "(comments) heard from Kremlin critics", and then says, "such as activist Alexei Navalny". So Alexei is an example of the comments? I don't think Alexei is a comment: she is a person who made comments. The sentence would be better as, "... such as the comments of Alexei" or "... such as those of Alexei".

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  • The antecedent of "such as activist Alexei Navalny" is "Kremlin critics". It is a bit confusing, but not grammatically wrong. That being said, the sentence would be much clearer if it said 'Her comments echo those heard since the killing from Kremlin critics such as activist Alexei Navalny, who accused "the country's political leadership" of ordering a hit on Nemtsov.' Commented Apr 9, 2015 at 2:39
  • I said it was "garbled". I'm not prepared to say it's flatly wrong. I guess in context we know what the writer means, but I think the sentence is poorly constructed.
    – Jay
    Commented Apr 9, 2015 at 12:39

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