Idealists have objected to the package tour, that the travel

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Yichen

Senior Member
Chinese
Hello everyone,

Please have a look at this sentence. I feel though its meaning is clear, its grammar is dim.

Idealists have objected to the package tour, that the traveler abroad thereby denies himself the opportunity of getting to know the people of the country visited.

I find the “that” somewhat special. What is the function of it?
The “that clause” doesn’t seem to be an appositional one of “the package tour” and nor does it seem to be the objection of “have objected to”.

I have consulted my dictionary and got a few sentences as follows:
…am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?
I am not a doormat, that you should walk over me.
Oh, that the world could be persuaded of the truth of that maxim.
They are examples I can find that have something similar to the topic sentence, but the grammar may be a different thing?

Is it a special usage of ”that” or just something like “that is”, “in that” or “and they say/think that”?


Thank you.
 
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  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Hello, Yichen.

    Some more thorny language, huh?

    "That" in the first sentence is unusual. "That" here seems to function as a conjunction or something very much like one. The closest equivalent I can think of would be "for" meaning "because" or perhaps "as": ...to the package tour, for (because) the traveler abroad thereby... I'll post later about the other uses of "that" should I find anything useful.
     
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    scrotgrot

    Senior Member
    English - English
    I think it is bad grammar. Because or insofar as or what you've put at the bottom or some other more specific connective would be needed.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Hello everyone,

    Please have a look at this sentence. I feel though its meaning is clear, its grammar is dim.

    Idealists have objected to the package tour, that the traveler abroad thereby denies himself the opportunity of getting to know the people of the country visited.

    I find the “that” somewhat special. What is the function of it?
    The “that clause” doesn’t seem to be an appositional one of “the package tour” and nor does it seem to be the objection of “have objected to”.

    I have consulted my dictionary and got a few sentences as follows:
    …am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?
    I am not a doormat, that you should walk over me.
    Oh, that the world could be persuaded of the truth of that maxim.
    They are examples I can find that have something similar to the topic sentence, but the grammar may be a different thing?


    Is it a special usage of ”that” or just something like “that is”, “in that” or “and they say/think that”?


    Thank you.
    ...am I a dog, (so) that you should come to me with sticks? As you can see, I think "that" here is a shorter way of writing "so that".
    I am not a doormat, (one such) that you should walk over me. Here, an ellipsis of "one such" seems to precede an ordinary use of "that" as a conjunction.
    Oh, that (if only) the world could be persuaded of the truth of that maxim. And here "that" means "if only".

    I associate all these unusual versions of "that" with poetic language. One thing they have in common is that they are unusual nowadays and seem to replace other short, ordinary, structural words like conjunctions.

    We have some fine grammarians who stop into the forum often. I hope some of them will see your thread and offer their views on the topic.
     
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    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Hello everyone,

    Please have a look at this sentence. I feel though its meaning is clear, its grammar is dim.

    Idealists have objected to the package tour, that the traveler abroad thereby denies himself the opportunity of getting to know the people of the country visited.

    I find the “that” somewhat special. What is the function of it?
    The “that clause” doesn’t seem to be an appositional one of “the package tour” and nor does it seem to be the objection of “have objected to”.

    I have consulted my dictionary and got a few sentences as follows:
    …am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?
    I am not a doormat, that you should walk over me.
    Oh, that the world could be persuaded of the truth of that maxim.
    They are examples I can find that have something similar to the topic sentence, but the grammar may be a different thing?

    Is it a special usage of ”that” or just something like “that is”, “in that” or “and they say/think that”?


    Thank you.
    Hi Yichen,

    I think it's simpler than you are suggesting.

    We can object to something that it does something: eg. I object to the proposition that it rejects the suggestion I made myself.

    The BNC has an example: he objected that the future of French mandates was none of Britain's business.

    It's maybe a little unusual as a construction, rather formal language, but it's not far from my objection to the proposition is that it rejects the suggestion I made myself.

    Often this sort of that is a shortened form of on the grounds that, which would make the original the more obviously acceptable Idealists have objected to the package tour on the grounds that the traveler abroad thereby denies himself the opportunity of getting to know the people of the country visited.

     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    It does seem a confusion of two constructions. They've taken a straightforward construction with 'object that' ('Idealists have objected that the traveler abroad thereby denies . . .') and wanted to indicate what the objection is about, not just what it is. You could do this awkwardly by adding a topic: 'Concerning the package tour, idealists have objected that the traveler abroad . . .'

    Instead they've taken an alternative construction 'object to <noun phrase>': Idealists object to the package tour. That's fine. The trouble is, you can't have both: you either object to something, or you object that something is so; you grammatically can't use both complements at once, objecting to something that something else is true of it. Or can you? Thomas Tompion thinks you can, and provides an example which I don't find convincing ('proposition that' is ambiguous), so let's see if I can construct other examples:

    I object to the new building that it will block out the light in my living-room. :thumbsdown:
    They objected to the proposed law that freedom of speech could be curtailed by it. :thumbsdown:

    I won't insist that these are ungrammatical, but their strangeness is more than just being formal. To me these have to be recast to give each of the two complements its own place:

    My objection to the new building is that it will block out the light in my living-room. :thumbsup:
    Their objection to the proposed law is that freedom of speech could be curtailed by it. :thumbsup:
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I take your point Entangled.

    What do you feel about my suggestion that it's a shortened form of on the grounds that?

    There is an acute danger that the that will be misconstrued:

    I object to the proposal that we should have to build a new tea room - most naturally means I'm objecting to a proposal to build a new tea room.

    I object to the proposal on the grounds that we should have to build a new tea room - the proposal (which is about something other than the building of a new tea room) is unattractive to me because it would entail our building a new tea room.
     

    Yichen

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Thank you all.
    I like entangledbank´s analysis and will also follow TT´s "on the ground that" advice.

    By the way, I won´t fill the following blank with "that" .
    I won´t object to you ______ you are not on my team.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I would see the construction easily fixed:

    Idealists have objected to the package tour, in that the traveler abroad ....

    Taking etb's examples:

    I object to the new building, in that it will block out the light in my living-room. :thumbsup:
    They objected to the proposed law, in that freedom of speech could be curtailed by it. :thumbsup:

    They do need the comma.

    So I see that I am back to Yichen's original post - I think the original text is ungrammatical, and Yichen was right to see it as being a substitute for "in that".
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I hope it will not seem disrespectful or tiresome of me to continue to maintain that this form being so widely decried is actually perfectly acceptable and usual in academic BE. Here are two examples of its use which seem to me entirely normal:

    We shall not object to it, that, as wages form a very small part of the expenses of a farmer, it would require a great reduction of them to produce a small increase in his profits, and a great rise in them to produce a small diminution in his profits. Nor shall we object to it, that it necessarily leaves undetermined and undeterminable, when wages rise and profits fall, or when the reverse occurs, which is the cause, and which is the effect. (Source)


    In vain did the critics object to it, that it was a dramatic nondescript, and that it was made up of reminiscences of English novels and tragedies.
    (Source)

    At the risk of being even more tiresome, I'd add that I've found many other examples.
     
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    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I don't find it tiresome at all, Thomas. Instead, I find it interesting and thank you for the trouble you've taken to research the issue.

    I'm not sure I've ever seen this juxtaposition of "it" and "that" before, but your evidence convinces me that writers use it intentionally.
     
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    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I don't find it tiresome either. I would, however, with all due respect point out that the two examples you linked to are far from modern English, and they cannot be described as examples of academic English. If Yichen's quotation (what was the source?) was also from Blackwood's magazine Volume 16 (1824) or of the Penny Cyclopaedia of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge Volume 13-14 (1839), then I would be perfectly happy to accept it as normal. If, however, it was written in the 21st century and not the 19th then I would, at the risk of being tiresome, suggest that it is not grammatical - insofar as grammar has changed between the first half of the 19th and the second decade of the 21st centuries.

    There is also, I think, a point that
    "They did not object to it, that, it would require a great reduction of them to produce a small increase in his profits" is actually a different construction from
    "Idealists have objected to the package tour, that the traveler abroad ...."
    A parallel construction could be
    "Idealists have objected to it, that, by taking the package tour, the traveler abroad denies himself the opportunity of getting to know the people of the country visited."
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Ngram Viewer shows that "objected to it that" and "objected to them that" are 19th-century constructions, effectively dead by about 1920. Andygc raises another interesting point: this may use a dummy 'it' and extraposition of the that-clause, parallel to 'It is amazing that S' and 'They found it amazing that S' (for S a clause). You can't say :cross:'They found that S amazing', and nor can you say :cross:'They objected to that S', so the extraposition is obligatory in both these.

    However, "objected to them that" was also used, and this can't be extraposition, it must have been genuine double complementation.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    So the expression seems to have migrated from being grammatically incorrect to being common in academic language in the 19th century but effectively dead now. I suppose this is a sort of progress.

    It's always difficult when people here present their strongly-held opinion as fact.

    Here are some more recent examples:

    It must be objected to them that in insisting that Genesis refers to days such as ours they are certainly not supported by revelation.
    (Source)

    Some people have objected to us that Behe is not making the argument ~F, but is only making a statement that it is highly unlikely that certain of his "IC" structures could arise naturalistically. (Source)

    What seems to me clear, if one looks, is that the expression is not common outside the language of academe or disputational language of various kinds, particularly religious language, except in various eastern forms of English, like Indian English where it remains common.

    In modern BE it may not be anything like as common as it was in the 19th century when it was everyday, but I wouldn't say it was dead. The web gives us plenty of recent examples. I've come across it frequently and wouldn't hesitate to use it myself.
     
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    Woofer

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    Here are some more recent examples:

    It must be objected to them that in insisting that Genesis refers to days such as ours they are certainly not supported by revelation.
    (Source)

    Some people have objected to us that Behe is not making the argument ~F, but is only making a statement that it is highly unlikely that certain of his "IC" structures could arise naturalistically. (Source)



    These are different usages. The original, and both of your 19th century examples in the earlier post, had the form:

    [noun] "objected to" [what they objected to], that [objectionable property of the object]

    Both of these have the form of:

    [noun] "objected to" [to whom they objected], that [nature of the objection].


    These last two are ordinary usages seen all the time. Consider the difference between

    I objected that Facebook is evil.
    I objected to them that Facebook is evil.
    I objected to Facebook, that it is evil.

    It's only this last usage, where the "that" clause is describing the preceding object, that we are saying is an archaic use. We are objecting to you that this usage is archaic. We are objecting to this usage, that it is archaic. (Actually, I'm not really objecting, I still have an open mind. I wouldn't be surprised to find it in use in certain circles, but I haven't seen any evidence of that yet).

    To be fair, entanglebank's last post included "objected to them that", which doesn't sound particularly archaic to me, only stuffy. In any case, however, it's a separate issue than the original question.

     
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    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Here's the next step:

    It is objected, however, to any science of God, that, if there is a God, he cannot be so known and comprehended as to be a true object of worship. (Source)

    At the same time, it may fairly be objected to it that it does not give us much information about the nature of entailment; Language, Truth, and Logic, A.J.Ayer.
    David Rosenthal (1990) objected to it that if this attending or monitoring is supposed to be a form of perceiving, I come to grief over the fact that “perceiving always involves some sensory quality.” (Source)

    I suspect that familiarity with this expression these days may depend on how much exposure one has to the language of academic dispute. I suspect that students of philosophy will be pretty familiar with it.

    I haven't given any of the many Indian examples readily found on the web.
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    "To object" can be used transitively. I found this particular entry in the OED:
    2.
    trans.
    To bring forward or state in opposition or as a counter-argument; to adduce as a reason against something; to urge as an objection.
    b. With clause or direct speech as object.
    Freq. in passive, with clause as complement of a dummy subject.
    This seems to attest to the patterns given here. It makes sense to associate this with argumentation in the humanities, where complex arguments are set forth against other propositions and must be explained by the authors in some length.

    I personally think that these expressions are a bit stilted and dusty-sounding. If I were editing, I would probably try to rephrase these sentences to make them sound less surprising, but I don't think the sentences are absolutely destroyed by this kind of construction.
     

    Pertinax

    Senior Member
    BrE->AuE
    Of TT's latest three examples, the first two (God and Ayer) do not show double complementation, since the "that"-clause is merely an extraposed subject (anticipated by dummy subject "it").

    The Rosenthal objection, however, is a genuine example of double complementation. But I find it more palatable than TT's examples in post #5, perhaps because the first complement uses "it" rather than some more elaborate noun-phrase.

    I found plenty of unobjectionable instances of double complementation in Google Books, e.g.:

    (1886) They objected to me that it was impossible to carry them across the swamps, the ditches and woods.

    Rachel Barney (2008) Tom Hurka has objected to me that this sounds inappropriately self-referential.

    Werner Abraham (1991) George Hughes once objected to me that (1a) and (1b) are not correct English sentences.

    Admittedly, the objections here are to a person rather than to a thing. But my point is that if "me" is changed to "it" in these three examples, where "it" denotes some suggestion or idea or theory or whatever of mine, then - at least to my ear - the sentence remains grammatical, and meaningful - though probably something I would avoid writing myself.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    If I understand the conclusions made so far, then Yichen's problem with the original sentence would probably have never existed had the writer merely left the comma out and used a dash:

    Idealists have objected to the package tour - that the traveler abroad thereby denies himself the opportunity of getting to know the people of the country visited.

    I'm not sure how you object to a package tour that something happens, but that's what the sentence seems to tell the reader. I suspect my conclusion is identical to the ones made earlier by Entangledbank and Andy. I agree with Andy that the problem seems easy to fix by adding some word or phrase like "in" or "on the grounds". Perhaps the writer wanted to avoid a sentence of 27 words or 29 words and thereby wrote a sentence that's hard to understand.

    Have I missed something here?
     
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    Pertinax

    Senior Member
    BrE->AuE
    I think that you are trying to read the that-clause as a complement of "package tour", Owlman, but the question is whether it can be read as a complement of "objected", in addition to the existing complement "to the package tour". See etb's "I objected to the building that it was too tall.", which contains no comma.

    Yes, it can be "fixed" with "on the grounds that", but that is an adjunct, not a complement.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Thank you, Pertinax. I'd gladly stuff an adjunct in and leave "objected" with one lonely complement, which seems plenty to ask of the word. Even Entangledbank's "I objected to the building that it was tall" leaves me with the unfortunate impression that I was talking to something made of concrete and steel.
     

    Pertinax

    Senior Member
    BrE->AuE
    Ah, OK, so the existence of the "that" clause inclines you to interpret the "to-phrase" as the entity to which you are addressing your objection, instead of the thing you are objecting to. As in: "I objected to the man that he was too tall".

    How about:
    I objected to the proposal that the meeting should be on Friday night.
    Do you sense any ambiguity there? I can read "that" as "on the grounds that" or I can read the that-clause as a description of the proposal itself. This example rings a remote bell in my head - I think I read something like it in some grammar book.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I'd read that one as a description of the proposal itself. I think I've heard that remote bell of yours a time or two myself.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Of TT's latest three examples, the first two (God and Ayer) do not show double complementation, since the "that"-clause is merely an extraposed subject (anticipated by dummy subject "it").

    [...]
    Hi Pertinax.

    I'm too dim to see the point here.

    The two sentences below, the first the sentence in the OP, the second from Ayer, look pretty similar in construction to my inexperienced eye. What is the important difference which you are pointing out?

    1. Idealists have objected to the package tour, that the traveler abroad thereby denies himself the opportunity of getting to know the people of the country visited.

    2. At the same time, it may fairly be objected to it that it does not give us much information about the nature of entailment
     

    Pertinax

    Senior Member
    BrE->AuE
    (2) can be read, somewhat inelegantly, as:
    At the same time, that it does not give us much information about the nature of entailment may fairly be objected to it.

    At any rate, the grammatical function of the that-clause here is not to provide a complement to "objected" but to provide a reference for "it". The OED (in Lucas's post above) describes it "with clause as complement of a dummy subject".
     
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