____ owner seated in it to enjoy some fresh air every afternoon.

Peter Tran

Senior Member
-Near the stadium there was a garden, ____ owner seated in it to enjoy some fresh air every afternoon.

A. whose
B. its
C. which
D. that

Which is correct?



I think the answer B will be ok, how do you think?
 
  • boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    The right answer cannot even begin to worry me. :D The sentence is constructed in such a way that I cannot see it becoming grammatical. There is a problem with the comma. There is another problem with the verb seat. Who is the author of this exercise?
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    None of the options is correct and I agree with boozer that it's a very poorly constructed sentence. 'Whose' might be correct if a garden was a person or an animal but of course a garden is inanimate. 'Whose' is a relative and means 'of whom'. For objects we have 'of which' There are two separate sentences which I can't join together in any of the ways suggested.

    Near the stadium was a garden. The owner (of the garden) [sit] in it every afternoon to enjoy the fresh air.

    We need another wh- word to replace 'in it', and 'of the garden' has to be removed. It would then read
    Near the stadium was a garden, wh- the owner (correct form of verb 'sit') every afternoon to enjoy the fresh air.

    I would probably have the comma after 'garden' but I'd not worry if it wasn't there.

    Hermione
     
    Last edited:

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    The answer is B: its.

    Whose is not correct here, but Hermione is mistaken (sorry) in thinking that it can't refer to an inanimate object like a garden, though it is a quite literary usage.

    The problem isn't so much the comma (not apostrophe!), it's the fact that we don't often use these hanging adjectival phrases like "its owner seated in it to enjoy some fresh air every afternoon". It's good grammar but bad style. We'd be more likely to say "with its owner seated..." or turn the phrase into a clause such as: "and its owner was seated...", or "whose owner sat in it..."
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    We will have to disagree about the use of 'whose' for inanimates and a few other things too, it seems, such as what a sentence is and 'seat' vs 'sit'. You can use it and recommend it to learners if you like, but I don't like, not unless the student is at an advanced level. I am glad that you agree 'whose' is wrong here.
    We could also have a clause starting with 'in' - " ... garden in [wh-] the owner [sit] ................

    Hermione
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Oh, you actually read this sentence as a verbless participial clause! :eek: That is possible, indeed, but...

    its owner seated in it... every afternoon :confused:

    That is not the usual way in which the past participle is used*. Much of the time it will be there to express a more or less permanent attribute to the noun it modifies:
    Near the school there was an old house, its walls pressed under the weight of a collapsing roof.

    And here we have a sentence where a person is described as though he were a permanent attribute of his own garden. :( And then, all of a sudden, and rather incongruously, we add every afternoon. I think that
    a/ A grammatical sentence this may be, but an awful one as well. :)
    b/ I do not think a participial clause was what the test-setter had in mind. I think the test-maker him/herself used the verb seat incorrectly.

    *This is too general and possibly untrue, of course, but it is good for the purposes of this example and this argument.
     
    Last edited:

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Yes, I agree with Keith, its is the obvious answer. The garden is being described. It could equally be described "Near the stadium there was a garden, its flowers glowing in the afternoon sun." That is exactly the same construction, and I do not share Boozer's reservation - I have no problem with the garden being so idyllic that its owner is seated in it to enjoy some fresh air every afternoon.

    PS Off topic, but, Hermione, you will have to disagree with the OED about "whose" being used for inanimate objects, and its several examples stretching from 1382 to 1981 - and a few threads in this forum.
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    "Near the stadium there was a garden, its flowers glowing in the afternoon sun."
    Yes, excellent! Unsurprisingly, you have made a perfect sentence. :) But it is a very different sentence from the one we have here in that the description takes place on a particular afternoon and the author is describing flowers and flowers are plants (plants are more or less fixed to the ground, aren't they?). In our sentence we have a person who is described as though he were a plant - seated there in his garden for an eternity, except that 'every afternoon' is added. :)
     
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