countries such as Germany and the United Kingdom, <which> [antecedent?]

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Julianus

Senior Member
Korean
Hello.

1a. That would mean, for instance, that countries such as Germany and the United Kingdom, which have been emitting for longer than most countries, would bear a larger share than their current emissions implied. (Korean universitiy entrance exam)

My book says that the antecedent of 'which' is countries. But I think the antecedent of 'which' is 'Germany and the United Kingdom' because 'most countries' makes the meaning natural when Germany and the United Kingdom is the subject.

1b. Germany and the United Kingdom have been emitting for longer than most countries.
1c. Countries have been emitting for longer than most countries.(?)

Am I right?

Thank you always~.
 
  • Imber Ranae

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    It's really modifying the whole noun phrase "countries such as Germany and the United Kingdom". I don't think it does any good to pretend it belongs to only the one or the other.
     

    exgerman

    Senior Member
    NYC
    English but my first language was German
    Remember that Germany and the UK are only examples of the countries which have been long-time emitters. The sentence is about all countries that are long-time emitters.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Exgerman is quite right in saying that Germany and the UK are only given as examples of long-term emitters.
    That is a true understanding of the text as written. 'Countries' by itself is the antecedent.

    However, if, as is sometmes the case, the author, though using the words 'such as', actually had no other countries in mind besides Germany and the UK, then that is a mistake by the author.
    If we consider the historical question, the fact is that France and other European nations were also early emitters of industrial pollution.
     
    Last edited:

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I agree with Imber: the antecedent is "countries such as Germany and the United Kingdom".
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    I am in exgerman's camp. "such as Germany and the United Kingdom," are in parenthesis - it is unimportant as to whether they are there or not.

    Compare with John, and for that mater Jane, is a good artist. Despite apparently having two subjects, the verb is singular as the true subject is "John" because "and for that mater Jane" is not truly part of the idea - it is an aside.

    Assume the sentence were:
    "That would mean, for instance, that a country, such as The United Arab Emirates, The Maldives, etc, which have has been emitting for longer..." and it should be clearer.
     
    Last edited:

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I think your interpretation would need an extra comma, Paul: countries, such as...
    :)
     
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