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A game that you'll enjoy

'A game that you'll enjoy' is all about relative clauses.

Producing elegant Relative Clauses is a very rewarding goal (and achievement!) in anyone's second language ... assuming the language has such a feature, as English magnificently does of course.

We hope than honing and choosing these will be 'a game that you'll enjoy'!

  1. Choose the answer which completes its blank/s in the most accurate and stylish English.
    Then they showed us a little sentence tucked away in small print in the contract, ... ... the company disclaimed any responsibility for accidental loss or damage.
    None of the words offered after 'in' in Answers 1-3 works correctly here, though they might well each be understood. 'In which' would have been fine; but why not, just, 'where'?
  2. Choose the answer which completes its blank/s in the most accurate and stylish English.
    An unacceptable number of errors has been brought to our attention recently by our customers, ... ... appear to be the direct fault of staff in your department.
    The paraphrase and word order in Answer 3 are acceptable, but flow marginally less clearly (it is better to put the prepositional relative qualifying phrase after the 'many' or 'several' ~ or 'some', or whatever the other quantifier happens to be).
    Answer 2 is wrong because 'these' (while indeed referring back) is not a true Relative word, and the comma on the join between two main clauses does not offer substantial enough punctuation (though as with many more such subtle points, you may freely come across poor examples 'out there' from native writers who ideally should have known better).
    Answer 4 makes sense, but the clash of register between 'of whom' (formally correct) and 'loads' (very informal) undermines the supposedly solemn overall disciplinary effect of the passage.
    You would need to avoid slipping into 'many / several / most / some of WHOM ... ', which would tend to suggest that the clients were themselves in some way the fault of the staff!
  3. Which of these is the only UNACCEPTABLE way of completing the sentence?
    'That's the car ... ... my brother was hoping to buy.'
    'That', 'which' or no link-word at all are each acceptable in English.
    Speakers of many more precise languages may find Answer 4 surprising, but it's all right; while our NOT accepting 'the car who ... ' may seem reciprocally strange!
  4. Which of these is the only UNACCEPTABLE way of completing the sentence?
    'Where are those people in uniform .... we saw last time?.'
    You may quite often hear examples like Answer 4 in everyday English speech, but the Direct Object form of 'who' is, technically, nevertheless, 'whom' as in Answer 3. Meanwhile, as above, Answers 1 & 2 (as they appear here) are at least equally acceptable options.
  5. Choose the answer which completes its blank/s in the most accurate and stylish English.
    She couldn't imagine ... ... might have delayed him.
    'What', here, is short for 'what thing' or 'what cause'; but English never needs to say such things in full.
  6. (All of the Answers offered for this Question are acceptable, but which is the LEAST likely in usual speech?)
    'Sorry I'm late,' he said as he came hurrying over; 'I just bumped into ... ... '
    Answer 4 is correct but pedantic, and would be considered pompous and eccentric in most normal social circumstances.
  7. Choose the answer which completes its blank/s in the most accurate and stylish English.
    'I need you to give me back those books ... ... I lent you last year.'
    Answer 3 is also possible, particularly in speech; but Answer 4 is more clearly correct.
  8. Choose the answer which completes its blank/s in the most accurate and stylish English.
    We need to have a detailed search through our Address Book, and delete all those people ... ... we haven't heard a word over the past few years.
    Don't forget the difference between 'hearing from' people that you were previously in touch with, and 'hearing of' someone like an artist or composer, whose work you may never yet have recognised. ('Have you heard of Charles Dickens?')
    The other Answers on offer here were each misconstructed in some way or other.
  9. Choose the answer which completes its blank/s in the most accurate and stylish English.
    Surely someone so careless, or easily distracted, could hardly be the person ... ...
    We seem to be narrating the potential turning-point of one person's life ('hers'), if not of two of them; so even if we drop out any relative words in their actual spoken dialogue, we perhaps feel the need to tell the outline of the story in relatively formal, solemn (and certainly correct) English. Answer 3 is therefore our best option, although if you were telling this story aloud to others ~ for some reason ~ you could just as well find yourself adopting versions 1 or 2.
  10. Choose the answer which completes its blank/s in the most accurate and stylish English.
    'This seems to be the component ... ... has been causing us so much trouble.'
    You cannot, in good English, have an Answer-1-style blank as the Subject of a relative clause, as here ~ though it is fine to represent the Object.
    'Who' and 'what', for different reasons, are both unacceptable here, though you may well come across 'what' doing such a job in informal and/or dialect situations (e.g. 'working-class' mechanics discussing the engine of a tractor).

Author: Ian Miles

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