That which ...

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  1. #1

    That which ...

    Reading the Highway code, published by the DoT I came across rule 170, para four (They say in the front you may quote as long as you make the reference) ‘Watch out for horse riders who may take a different line on the road from that which you would expect.’

    Now I would cut that down to ‘... from that you expect’, or even ‘...to the expected’.
    ‘Would’ strikes me merely as a bit of waffle, but ‘that which’ actually seems wrong; I hear my Mother’s voice from over sixty years ago, “If you are saying ‘that which’ why not ‘that which what’?”

    It is an authoritative sort of a source, but then so was Mum what do you reckon?
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  2. #2
    WF Veteran Bloggsworth's Avatar
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    The sentence is cumbersome, but correct.
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Olly Buckle View Post
    Reading the Highway code, published by the DoT I came across rule 170, para four (They say in the front you may quote as long as you make the reference) ‘Watch out for horse riders who may take a different line on the road from that which you would expect.’
    Now I would cut that down to ‘... from that you expect’, or even ‘...to the expected’.
    ‘Would’ strikes me merely as a bit of waffle, but ‘that which’ actually seems wrong; I hear my Mother’s voice from over sixty years ago, “If you are saying ‘that which’ why not ‘that which what’?”
    It is an authoritative sort of a source, but then so was Mum what do you reckon?
    Hi, Olly. I found the whole sentence slightly bizarre. Do horse riders take any kind of "a line" and why not just say "horses"?

    I'd have just written 'Watch out for horses on the road.' which is pretty much what the signs say in the New Forest. Whether being ridden or not makes no difference.

    As he uses "may", I'd use 'might' to indicate possibility rather than "would".

  4. #4
    Bloggsworth's comment made me think, cumbersome sentences are often written by lawyers with an eye to later legal claims, it is trying to make the meaning precise and incontestable that makes them cumbersome. There might be some of that going on.
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  5. #5
    Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    I think the HC code is correct. Sorry, Olly's mum! But to paraphrase a little Churchillian apocrypha, poor grammar is something up with which I shall not put.


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  6. #6
    That in this use is a part of the prepositional phrase in the example sentence that can be attributed to a few different reasons for its use. The most common and applicable reason here is (that) the word "that" is added dialectically by preference and intuition as we speak and write, like with what I did with the that in parentheses at the beginning of this sentence. If I wanted to, I could add the word that in the parenthesis to my sentence, but is not grammatically needed. That is quite the interesting word in our language- it fills many places grammatically in terms of how it can be used and is flexible in ways that a lot of other words grammatically are not. That and which can also at times like this one be substituted in place of one another, as they both convey similar meanings.
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  7. #7
    As someone who has a knack for knowing when things sound like they are worded weirdly (Except in my own writing, ofc) the sentence actually makes perfect sense to me. There are a bunch of "Lazy Canoers" which make the sentence a little extra, but otherwise, it isn't wrong.
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  8. #8
    like with what I did with the that in parentheses at the beginning of this sentence.
    Now, for me, it is not 'like' the 'that' in parenthesis, it is the same construction, therefore it is 'as' that 'that', as are the 'with' and 'what' in the quote. I would simply say, 'as with the 'that' in parentheses at the beginning of this sentence.'

    As you say peopleintuitively add these words when talking. It is my belief that it is a bit like saying 'you know what I mean' in that it gives the speaker time to order his thoughts without interrupting his flow. Of course that doesn't count when writing, you can take all the time you wish, and edit. To me that makes it just extra guff carried over from speech and complicating things, unless I was doing dialogue in character I would go for the simplest, clearest, expression of my meaning. Provided I was smart enough to spot it of course
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  9. #9
    oops
    Last edited by Olly Buckle; April 22nd, 2018 at 12:31 AM.
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