..., but those still in use and those long abandoned

Abedul_2f

Senior Member
Español, Spain
Hello folks,

I have some doubts concerning the meaning of the sentence in bold. Could you paraphase it, so that I can understand it please? Thanks in advance!


No census of the underground population has been taken, but a 1986 study for the mayor’s office estimated that five thousand people lived in the subway system alone. This was a rough estimate at best, according to Marsha Martin who authored the study, because homeless people are often evasive. Her figure did not count the homeless in the railroad tunnels, but those still in use and those long abandoned.
 
  • bluegiraffe

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It means that the census counted homeless people living in subways still in use and subways that are no longer used and haven't been for years.
    It doesn't make much sense with "Her figure did not count the homeless in the railroad tunnels" as the tunnels "still in use and those long abandoned" appear to be tube tunnels, not railway tunnels?
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I can not tell from this context what the highlighted "those" could refer to. I'm going to take a wild guess that it refers back to some mention of "subway tunnels" prior to the quoted text. In that case:
    Her figure counted the homeless living in in-use subway tunnels and abandoned subway tunnels, but not railroad tunnels.
     

    Abedul_2f

    Senior Member
    Español, Spain
    I can give you more context, but I think that it doesn't change anything. It continues being a bit cofnusing, doesnt it?

    The population of the underground homeless is not known precisely, and estimates are controversial. Transit and welfare authorities prefer to give sanguine estimates, in part to reduce fear among commuters about the potential threat of these tunnel people, in part to mute criticism of their efforts and their budgets to attack the problem. No census of the underground population has been taken, but a 1986 study for the mayor’s office estimated that five thousand people lived in the subway system alone. This was a rough estimate at best, according to Marsha Martin who authored the study, because homeless people are often evasive. Her figure did not count the homeless in the railroad tunnels, but those still in use and those long abandoned. A 1991 survey by the New York Health Department counted 6,031 homeless in the Grand Central and Penn stations alone.http://forum.wordreference.com/#_ftn1

    So, does it still mean, as Myridon said, that the study that Marsha Martin carried out didn't include the homeless living in railroad tunnels, but only those living in subway tunnels (subways in use and subways abandoned)?

    Thanks!
     

    Abedul_2f

    Senior Member
    Español, Spain
    Thanks! I don't know if it's just because my native language is not English, but I find the construction quite odd. The referent of "those" is too far.
     

    Abedul_2f

    Senior Member
    Español, Spain
    It has occurred to me that maybe there is a misprint in the sentence. The copy that I have is not the original text, but a copy the professor typed himself and gave to us. Considering that I've found more typing errors in the same text, could it be possible that he didn't want to write "but", but "both" (both still in use and those long abandoned). Would it have more sense that way?
    Thanks!
     

    bluegiraffe

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Yes! That would make far more sense. As it is, the sentence isn't quite right, but with "both" it would make perfect sense, saying that no railroad tunnels at all were counted. Good thinking!
     
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