environments that people move around in

NewAmerica

Banned
Mandarin
Does "environments that people move around in" mean "environments in which people move around"?

Thanks in advance

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Shoe-Wearing Robot's No Flatfoot--It Walks like a Person
Enhanced walking capabilities could help robots navigate environments that people move around in, and could improve the performance of bots created for disaster response

—Scientific American

Source
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Is the original graceful in style while the alternative is as common as dirt?
    I wouldn't say that, although it was well phrased – still, it's not applicable here. :)

    I like keeping "move around in." And I prefer "that" to "which" in any construction – "in which" is a better of a speed bump for the reader.

    Put them together and "... help robots navigate environments that people move around in" is much smoother for me.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    The original phrase has an ambiguity, which NewAmerica's rewritten version does not have.

    When I saw the headline for this thread ("environments that people move around in") I assumed it meant a closed environment (with people in it) that moves around. It could be a spaceship, for example (I read the thread about Pluto just before this one). Or a research submarine, or any other vehicle which "maintains a normal human environment" inside, while exploring a hostile external environment.

    In the actual sentence from Scientific American, it is clear which is meant. I am pointing out the ambiguity because it is part of the answer to OP's question:

    Does "environments that people move around in" mean "environments in which people move around"?
     
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