a combination of ‘in country’ investigation, mapping data and traced company certificates ....

isabel...

Senior Member
Spanish
HI, I need your help with these structures. I think it can have two meanings depending on the structure.

e.g: Greenpeace used a combination of ‘in country’ investigation, mapping data (first idea) and traced company certificates (second idea)
or:
Greenpeace used a combination of ‘in country’ investigation, mapping data and tracing company certificates (in case there is a mistake in it).

Barbie toy includes packaging from Indonesia deforestation

Ecologist
9th June, 2011

Greenpeace used a combination of ‘in country’ investigation, mapping data and traced company certificates to show that Mattel, the makers of Barbie, along with other toy companies including Disney, are using packaging produced by Asia Pulp and Paper (APP).


Thanks so much for your help,
 
  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    As written, I think your first analysis is correct.

    Greenpeace used a combination of
    (1) ‘in country’ investigation,
    (2) mapping data and
    (3)traced company certificates to show
    [something]

    Greenpeace used these three things to show that:
    Mattel, [...], along with other toy companies including Disney, are using packaging produced by Asia Pulp and Paper (APP).


    (Mattel makes Barbie dolls.)


    If I had been writing this I would have used the singular verb:
    Mattel, [along with ...] is using packaging produced by Asia Pulp and Paper (APP).
    Or written it differently:
    Mattel and other toy companies, including Disney, are using packaging ....
    However, I am a speaker of American English. We tend to treat a company as a singular entity. I believe that speakers of British English may use a plural verb with a company name.
     

    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    The sentence is almost cryptic. Here's my guess:

    Let's start with what we know: Greenpeace used a combination of devices to show that Mattel is bad. What devices were used? If we take the article at its word, then there's more than one, because there is talk of a combination, so at least two, and maybe three.
    I think the devices used were (1) ‘in country’ investigation, (2) mapping data, (3) traced company certificates (traced acting like adjective)

    But it could be otherwise - you have to know the ways of the secret investigator in order to understand the sentence. (sadly)
     
    Last edited:

    isabel...

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Hi, I've got a question: Is it correct to use first past tense, then a gerund and then past tense again?. I thought the verb used was connected directly to mapping (as explainig how Greenpeace leaded that investigation) and well the other verb traced was another idea.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    The sentence is confusing, for the reasons you point out: after the first verb, we expect the following verb forms to follow a similar construction. However, there is no grammatical rule against it. The problem is stylistic. As Beryl points out, the sentence could have been written more clearly.
     

    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    Hi, I've got a question: Is it correct to use first past tense, then a gerund and then past tense again?. I thought the verb used was connected directly to mapping (as explainig how Greenpeace leaded that investigation) and well the other verb traced was another idea.
    No in general terms it isn't - I'm giving the author the benefit of the doubt in assuming that they also know this to be the case (although such generosity seldom goes unpunished). I'm assuming that 1,2 and 3 are all, loosely speaking, nominal.

    My take on it is thus: Greenpeace combined (the use of) investigation and mapping-data (whatever that is) and certificates that had been traced.

    Again - other guesses are available.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    (I should say that I am more confident than Beryl is that we understand the sentence correctly. It's just that I think the sentence is awkward, and it takes a couple of starts to read it correctly.)
     
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