LINGUISTICS & CULTURE
|Data:||29/JUL/2011 11:40 AM|
|Assunto:||Puzzle (intermediate to advanced level English):|
Thanks Charlotte, but the expression should belong to the same clause, not to different clauses, and your example seems to have 2 clauses: it was they (that) it chose.
Here's a solution:
If we analyse the phrase "they it" from the point of view of English grammar, we see that "they" is in the subjective form (some call it "the Nominative case"). Personal pronouns in this form can have 2 functions in a sentence:
- predicative (can also be called "nominal part of the compound nominal predicate", like the word "teacher" in the sentence "She is a teacher").
For example, "Are they it again? " uses "they" as a subject, but it's possible the other variant, the predicative. It's hard to make a sentence where "they" is the subject, because the sentence has to be interrogative, with the word "it" being the predicative, which makes it quite hard to understand the meaning of the sentence since "it" can mean everything in this world, you know.
But if we use "they" as the predicative, what's the function of "it"? Naturally not the object, because compound nominal predicates are always intransitive. What else then? Let's make it the subject! Well, inversion of the word order is needed then, but it's OK, the English grammar allows inversion.
This eample uses the inversion of the object, as far as I understand:
You just can't accept they it all know.
but that sounds a bit awkward, because it separated the subject and the predicate, which is hardly allowed. Usually if we have inversion, we place a part of a sentence in the very beginning of the sentence. Here's a couple of possible solutions to the puzzle:
They it is who can help you, not I. (without the inversion it is "It is they who can help you, not I.")
They it was who told us the truth. (without the inversion it is "It was they who told us the truth.")
Have a look at how J.R.R. Tolkien uses the same trick (The Hobbit, Chapter XVIII)
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