the rationale behind it

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Roundhouse

Senior Member
Bengali
I wrote the following sentences.

Regional differentiation forms an integral part of Canada’s federal EI program. But the rationale behind it has been questioned time and again.
My friend read it and started laughing. They asked what "it" is referring back to? So, I wonder if this is not clear.
 
  • Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    It's potentially ambiguous. It could be taken to refer the federal EI program, but I reckon it must be intended to refer to regional differentiation.
     

    Roundhouse

    Senior Member
    Bengali
    It's potentially ambiguous. It could be taken to refer the federal EI program, but I reckon it must be intended to refer to regional differentiation.
    Hello Edinburgher,

    I meant "it" to refer to "regional differentiation". Now I am a bit worried that a reader might stop to think about this.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    I wouldn't worry about it. It's only ambiguous to someone who wants it to be ambiguous. Is your friend the kind of person who likes to find problems that normal people don't see, or that don't bother them? Lawyer? Accountant? :)
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I think it would be less ambiguous and far better writing if you put in a comma and made it one sentence. Beginning that second sentence with "but", combined with that floating "it", is more awkward than it needs to be to say one straightforward thought.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    if you put in a comma and made it one sentence
    I agree that it would be far better, but I don't think it would remove or lessen the potential ambiguity. In both cases the much likelier antecedent is the subject of the previous sentence (or of the main clause of the same sentence, as the case may be), rather than simply the last noun phrase mentioned, but the less likely antecedent seems to me to be equally likely in both cases.
     
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