<a> woman just after <a> visit of whom the accident happend

VicNicSor

Banned
Russian
Mulder and Scully get into a mystery car accident (they are in one car). Later, at a vehicle repair shop, Scully tells Mulder:
— ... someone tampered with it while we were in her [a woman just after a visit of whom the accident happend] house.
— Mechanic says everything is in proper order. Nothing cut, nothing greased.
The X-Files, TV series
The context is Mulder and Scully arrive at a witness's house to ask her some questions. When they leave the house and get into the car, they get into a car accident.
Do you think I use the two orange indefinite articles correctly here?
Thank you.
 
Last edited:
  • Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    Can you explain a bit more what your parenthetical expression is supposed to mean?

    [a woman just after a visit of whom the accident happend]
     

    Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    Yes, I understand the purpose of the phrase. What I don't understand is what you mean by "just after a visit of whom the accident happened."
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    By "a woman just after a visit of whom the accident happend" I meant "the car accident happened just after a visit of that woman (the witness)". That is -- just after they left her house and got into the car.
     

    Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    So, let's see if I have this right.

    1. Mulder and Scully go to a woman's house.
    2. They leave the house and get into their car.
    3. They are involved in a car accident that is in some way mysterious.

    If you absolutely must place your phrase in the location you've indicated, the least cumbersome way I can think of to say it is:

    someone tampered with it while we were in her [the woman's we had just visited before the accident happend] house.

    It's very awkward at best. It looks awful with the "'s" attached to "woman," and in casual speech we'd probably put it after "happened," which of course is not grammatically correct, but it's the best that can be done with the construction.

    To address your original question, you need the definite article.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    It would be much easier to explain "her house" than "her" " ... her house (the house of the woman whom we visited just before the accident). A noun phrase doesn't equate well to a possessive.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    The complicated construction sounds very Eastern European. I wonder why. :) OK, actually Germans are quite fond of them too.
    English-speakers are simple folk, they don't often use such nested relative clauses, but if you're happy to leave it like that, you still need to make some minimal corrections.
    You would be better saying the woman, not a woman, and a visit to whom, not of whom.
    But the square brackets provide enough isolation from the containing sentence that you need not phrase the whole insertion as though it were enclosed in commas instead of square brackets.
    You can use a much simpler independent clause. There is also then no need to make the insertion before house.
    ...while we were in her house [the house of the woman we had visited just before the accident happened].


    Crossposted with Myridon
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Thank you, everyone!
    But I feel you misunderstood a bit what I meant.
    [the woman's we had just visited before the accident happend]
    (the house of the woman whom we visited just before the accident)
    ...while we were in her house [the house of the woman we had visited just before the accident happened].
    The parenthetical phrase does not convey something Mulder and Scully would say while talking to one another. So "we" doesn't work. It's what I, Vic, am saying to you, the forum members.
    And you (unlike Mulder or Scully) can't know who is "her" and what "visit" I'm talking about, because I never mentioned them before. I only mentioned Mulder, Scully, car accident and repair shop.

    It's like I say:
    — Mulder and Scully get into a mystery car accident (they are in one car). Later, at a vehicle repair shop they talk to one another. Scully says: "someone tampered with it while we were in her house."
    A forum member asks:
    — Who is her"?
    Me:
    — "Her" is a woman just after a visit to whom the accident happened"
    I use THE with 'car accident' because I mentioned it already. But not only didn't I mention "woman" and "visit", I also didn't imply them. That is, nothing in the original phrase suggests that a woman or a visit to a woman is involved.
    Does it change anything?:)
     

    Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    Yes, you can use the indefinite article here.

    "Her" refers to a woman they had just visited before the accident happened.

    [Cross-posted with Myridon]
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    The parenthetical phrase does not convey something Mulder and Scully would say while talking to one another. So "we" doesn't work. It's what I, Vic, am saying to you, the forum members.
    Okay, that's right, so change 'we' to 'they', and yes, I was wrong about the woman.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    to a woman a visit to whom we paid just before the accident happened.
    No, that would be very difficult for most English-speakers to parse.
    You could turn your explanatory clause into a complete sentence and say [They had just been on a visit to this house before the accident happened]
     

    Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    That is, there is no way I can use "a visit" here? May I say something like?:
    "Her" refers to a woman a visit to whom they paid just before the accident happened.
    You can, but it's a dreadful sentence. A comma after "woman" would help slightly.

    If you need to include the words "a visit," you could say "a woman they had just paid a visit to before the accident happened."

    [Cross-posted with Edinburgher]
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    — "Her" house? Whose house? Who is "she"?
    That's what I meant:D
    We all know what you mean. I'm emphasizing my earlier point that "her" is not a simple noun and it's very awkward to try to explain it as a noun. She (a woman who ...) :tick: Her (a woman who...) :eek: Trying to expand that into a sentence would result in "Her is a woman."
     
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