...including a missile it claimed was not detectable by radar...

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shiness

Senior Member
Korean, South Korea.
Hi!

Should have found places like this long ago...:cool:

Before I start off with my question, I hope to find answers by english-natives to clarify and ensure accuracy...:)


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Iran's military test-fired a series of missiles during large-scale war games in the Persian Gulf in March and April, including a missile it claimed was not detectable by radar that can use multiple warheads to hit several targets simultaneously.

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Above is a separate copy (quotation) from a CNN news that I think looks little weird.

To be specific, the part where "including a missile it claimed was not detectable by radar" is just ,in my view, not right in grammartical structure.

To my humble knowledge, the correct (or revised) use of english would be as follows : "including a missile that (or which) it claimed was not detectable by radar that can use multiple warheads to hit several targets
simultaneously.

Well, That's how I've been taught about in the field of "relative pronouns" and "conjunction", so to speak, it's okay to omit both subjective and objective forms of relative pronouns in certain cases but never like in this one. Becuase I think I'm missing a MUST factor required to complete a sentence if a relative pronoun for "a missile" is not used there.

All in all, I highly doubt that someone entitled to write such an official news on the web could be wrong or has inadequate knowledge
of english. It might be myself that is mistaken somewhere..somehow here.


Please do help me? It's cracking my brain..:confused:
 
  • foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    Welcome to the forums, shiness. I think the elision of "which" here is perfectly okay, though the sentence could be a little confusing-- the connection between it and its antecedent military is a little tenuous.

    The criterion for news-release style is economy, and I'm afraid the "which" you want to add doesn't stand a chance-- in spite of the rulebooks you learned from.
    .
     

    mjscott

    Senior Member
    American English
    Hi!

    Should have found places like this long ago...:cool:

    Iran's military test-fired a series of missiles during large-scale war games in the Persian Gulf in March and April, including a missile it claimed was not detectable by radar that can use multiple warheads to hit several targets simultaneously....

    To be specific, the part where "including a missile it claimed was not detectable by radar" is just ,in my view, not right in grammartical structure.


    Please do help me? It's cracking my brain..:confused:
    Welcome!
    Your confusion comes with trying to claim it with was. Iran's military is one of those confounded nouns that can either be written as singular or plural. In this case, the writer chose to use a singular verb--which can later bite him in the behind when he is trying to write relative pronouns relative to the last noun typed out in print.

    See how much clearer it would have been for the reader if the writer had chosen to use a plural verb for Iran's military:

    Iran's military test-fired a series of missiles during large-scale war games in the Persian Gulf in March and April, including a missile they claimed was not detectable by radar that can use multiple warheads to hit several targets simultaneously....

    It becomes clearer that they refers to Iran's military--and not to a missile. When the author chooses to refer to Iran's military as a singular noun, a not-so-careful reader can get confused as to whether it refers to the Iran military, or to the missile itself--as to whether it is claiming to not be detected.

    A careful re-writing of the original would have solved the problem:
    Iran's military test-fired a series of missiles during large-scale war games in the Persian Gulf in March and April, including a missile (insert either of the relative pronouns--that, which) it claimed was not detectable by radar that can use multiple warheads to hit several targets simultaneously....

    In that way, the author can stick with choice whether the noun is singular or plural--but the text is clearer.

    PS: A native English speaker would have read the text without confusion as to whether it was referring to Iran's military or to the missile--but I'm not sure why....

    Hope this helps!
     

    french4beth

    Senior Member
    US-English
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Iran's military test-fired a series of missiles during large-scale war games in the Persian Gulf in March and April, including a missile it claimed was not detectable by radar that can use multiple warheads to hit several targets simultaneously.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Above is a separate copy (quotation) from a CNN news that I think looks little weird.

    To be specific, the part where "including a missile it claimed was not detectable by radar" is just ,in my view, not right in grammartical structure. I think it's ok, just long and awkward - "Iran military" is replaced by "it" (even though it's a collective noun).

    To my humble knowledge, the correct (or revised) use of english would be as follows : "including a missile that (or which) it claimed was not detectable by radar that can use multiple warheads to hit several targets
    simultaneously.

    All in all, I have no doubt that someone entitled to write such an official news on the web could be wrong or has inadequate knowledge
    of english. It might be myself that is mistaken somewhere..somehow here. Not necessarily - even native speakers make mistakes (myself included :eek: )!
    My suggestion:
    Iran's military test-fired a series of missiles during large-scale war games in the Persian Gulf in March and April. The military stated that they also tested a missile that was undetectable by radar and could use multiple warheads to hit several targets simultaneously.
    I prefer to break up such long rambling sentences into smaller, more coherent sentences.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Iran's military test-fired a series of missiles during large-scale war games in the Persian Gulf in March and April, including a missile it claimed was not detectable by radar that can use multiple warheads to hit several targets simultaneously.

    I'd like to clarify another couple of points that Beth fixed by splitting and modifying the sentence.

    What is it that can use multiple warheads ...?
    It may seem a bit silly, but I could easily read it as radar that can use multiple warheads ....
    The antecedent of restrictive that is normally immediately before that.

    The non-restrictive clause, "(which) it claimed was not detectable by radar," should, in my view, have had its which and should have been set off by commas.

    So, although I don't like the sentence being so long, if these defects were remedied it would read better. Not great, but better.

    Iran's military test-fired a series of missiles during large-scale war games in the Persian Gulf in March and April, including a missile, which they claimed was not detectable by radar, that can use multiple warheads to hit several targets simultaneously.
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    I'm more concerned with the lack of "and" than the lack of "which".

    Do you natives think it would be clearer (and more correct?) to write :

    Iran's military test-fired a series of missiles during large-scale war games in the Persian Gulf in March and April, including a missile it claimed was not detectable by radar and that can use multiple warheads to hit several targets simultaneously.

    as those two restrictive relative clauses share the same antecedent (missile) and the same level of embedding?
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    "Iran's military test-fired a series of missiles during large-scale war games in the Persian Gulf in March and April, including a missile it claimed was not detectable by radar and that can use multiple warheads to hit several targets simultaneously."


    I would prefer "it claimed was not detectable by radar and could use multiple warheads to hit several targets simultaneously." The whole thing is an unsubstantiated claim. To use "can use" here is too definite for the situation, in my opinion, not to mention it doesn't match well with "was".
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I expect we are playing with the words rather than understanding the underlying meaning, but hey that's fun anyway.

    I didn't read any hint of doubt about the ability of the missile to carry a multiple warhead. The only doubt, and hence the only aspect qualified by "it claimed", was about the ability of the missile to be "not detectable by radar."
    I could be applying my limited knowledge, of course. I believe "multiple warhead" missiles, I don't believe "not detectable by radar".
     

    shiness

    Senior Member
    Korean, South Korea.
    Thanks everyone for your opinion and answer.
    I think I'm through this puzzle-like hassle.

    Many thanks.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I didn't read any hint of doubt about the ability of the missile to carry a multiple warhead
    I wasn't inferring that there was any doubt of a missile being able to carry multiple warheads, but that there was a doubt that Iran had multi-warhead missiles in its arsenal. It could just be an assumption on my part.
     
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