we can get some sense to the extent <to which/that>...

JungKim

Senior Member
Korean
This quote is taken from a Washington Post blog article "The state of the early vote -- and what it tells us about Tuesday" written by an American professional politics writer:
In many states, voting doesn't begin on Tuesday, it's been going on for weeks, with voters able to swing by early voting locations or mail in ballots to the state. And, as with all voting data, numbers on early voting are made available (at varying levels of detail) to parties interested in splaying out their guts for the purposes of prognostication.

As with most future-telling, it is an imprecise science. Using data from the U.S. Election Project for the years 2010 and 2014, though, we can get some sense to the extent to which early voting is helping or hurting candidates in several states.
I wonder if any of the following variations of the last portion is possible, (0) being the original:

(0) we can get some sense to the extent to which early voting is helping or hurting candidates in several states

(1) we can get some sense to the extent that early voting is helping or hurting candidates in several states

(2) we can get some sense to the extent early voting is helping or hurting candidates in several states

(3) we can get some sense to the extent that early voting is helping or hurting candidates in several states to

(4) we can get some sense to the extent early voting is helping or hurting candidates in several states to
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Hello, JungKim. I think "to which" is necessary in that sentence. 1-4 don't look like reasonable or idiomatic ways of paraphrasing the sentence.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    You should probably collect a few more opinions before you make up your mind, JK. Other members may accept "1", but it seems a little off to me.
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Since I haven't received any other answers, owlman5, I'd like to ask you about another quote:
    Facts that you already know very well and have no trouble remembering act as anchor points.

    The more anchor points you can connect to, the more meaningful the new information becomes, and the more easily you will remember it.


    Think about it for a moment. When you are told something new, you only understand it to the extent that you can relate it to something you already know.
    (Bold emphasis original.)

    This quote is from this site about memory enhancement.

    Do you find the last sentence "a little off" because it doesn't say "to the extent to which you can relate it to something..."?
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Syntactically speaking, "to the extent to which..." as in the original is an adjunct phrase, whereas "of the extent to which..." is an adjective phrase modifying "sense".

    So when you say that the original is not possible, do you mean that the adjunct phrase in the original is somehow incompatible with the clause on a semantic basis?
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Syntactically speaking, "to the extent to which..." as in the original is an adjunct phrase, whereas "of the extent to which..." is an adjective phrase modifying "sense".

    So when you say that the original is not possible, do you mean that the adjunct phrase in the original is somehow incompatible with the clause on a semantic basis?
    Maybe this question of mine was not concrete enough to get an answer?

    At any rate, if the OP's example is not a terribly good example for my inquiry, could anyone please answer the following question instead?

    In post #5, the last sentence of the quote is as follows:
    When you are told something new, you only understand it to the extent that you can relate it to something you already know.

    Now is it possible to change the sentence as follows?

    When you are told something new, you only understand it to the extent to which you can relate it to something you already know.


    Are both natural English?
     

    srk

    Senior Member
    English - US
    JungKim said:
    Syntactically speaking, "to the extent to which..." as in the original is an adjunct phrase…
    I don’t know how you can pick out the syntactical role of that phrase without first knowing its semantic relationship to the rest of the sentence. I can’t find one in what you quoted from the article. I think the author meant to write “some sense of” and wrote “some sense to” by mistake.

    Perhaps you identified it as an adjunct phrase because you’ve seen it in that role in other contexts as in your post #5.
    JungKim said:
    When you are told something new, you only understand it to the extent that you can relate it to something you already know.
    When you are told something new, you only understand it to the extent to which you can relate it to something you already know.
    Both are possible, say the same thing to me, and are natural English. “To the extent to which” is natural in that it is common, but it is a little stilted.

    Here is an Ngram for both versions.
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Let's assume that the writer made a mistake and the text is supposed to be "get some sense of the extent to which...".
    As with most future-telling, it is an imprecise science. Using data from the U.S. Election Project for the years 2010 and 2014, though, we can get some sense of the extent to which early voting is helping or hurting candidates in several states.
    Now, can you replace "to which" with "that" to have the following?
    ...we can get some sense of the extent that early voting is helping or hurting candidates in several states.
     

    srk

    Senior Member
    English - US
    JungKim said:
    ...we can get some sense of the extent that early voting is helping or hurting candidates in several states.
    It doesn't work for me. I don't think there is a way to escape the intended meaning, but it just doesn't read right. Up until the reader encounters the word "candidates", it reads as though "extent" itself is something being helped or hurt. The question, "What extent is early voting helping?" has the same problem. "To what extent is early voting helping?" does not.
     
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