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changing families Options
D00M
Posted: Monday, August 07, 2017 9:50:45 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/24/2017
Posts: 616
Neurons: 3,273
Hello respected teachers,

Is the given sentence fine? I found it in a textbook.

Nowadays people are beginning to realize the importance of family life and family commitments, and they obviously see how changing family structure can affect families; they are witnessing what changing families are undergoing and they can sense the rising divorce rate.

I'm particularly concerned about the emboldened part. I feel it is a little bit ambiguous or difficult for the reader to read smoothly for the first time.

If I make it interrogative, it will be: What are changing families undergoing?

So, I would change it to "...what problems changing families are undergoing...".

Thanks.

I am looking forward to your answers.
D00M
Posted: Monday, August 07, 2017 9:59:02 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/24/2017
Posts: 616
Neurons: 3,273
D00M wrote:
Hello respected teachers,


So, I would change it to "...what problems changing families are undergoing...".


Thanks.


Or: "what changes families are undergoing". Is it any better?

I am looking forward to your answers.
sureshot
Posted: Monday, August 07, 2017 10:15:27 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/16/2015
Posts: 1,838
Neurons: 341,621
D00M wrote:
Hello respected teachers,

Is the given sentence fine? I found it in a textbook.

Nowadays people are beginning to realize the importance of family life and family commitments, and they obviously see how changing family structure can affect families; they are witnessing what changing families are undergoing and they can sense the rising divorce rate.

I'm particularly concerned about the emboldened part. I feel it is a little bit ambiguous or difficult for the reader to read smoothly for the first time.

If I make it interrogative, it will be: What are changing families undergoing?

So, I would change it to "...what problems changing families are undergoing...".

Thanks.

_____________________

The expression "changing families" is a compound noun where a gerund is modifying a noun.

In the given text "... they are witnessing what changing families are undergoing ..." "what" is a pronoun. What does it stand for? It stands for "the things which". The original text is understandable. You could also say:

- ... they are witnessing the problems which changing families are undergoing ...

NKM
Posted: Monday, August 07, 2017 11:22:50 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/14/2015
Posts: 3,978
Neurons: 175,356
Location: Corinth, New York, United States
The original sentence is indeed understandable, but it is also complex enough to require a second reading (and careful parsing) before it becomes clear.

Writers should try to avoid unnecessary complexity. It's best, whenever possible, to create sentences whose meaning is obvious at first glance.

D00M
Posted: Monday, August 07, 2017 12:47:24 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/24/2017
Posts: 616
Neurons: 3,273
Thank you very much both.

I am looking forward to your answers.
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