Which one of the following sentences is grammatically correct?

  1. The idea that introduces a new relational representation is the subject of this paper.

  2. The idea that introduce a new relational representation is the subject of this paper.

Notice the form of the verb to introduce in the sentences.

closed as off-topic by MetaEd, p.s.w.g, Kris, Hellion, tchrist Jul 9 '13 at 19:08

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave these specific reasons:

  • "Proofreading questions are off-topic unless a specific source of concern in the text is clearly identified." – MetaEd, p.s.w.g, tchrist
  • "Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic. A list of these references can be found here: List of general references" – Kris, Hellion
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 5
    That is not a pronoun here; it's a complementizer and doesn't vary, hence it doesn't govern verb agreement in the relative clause. Instead, the antecedent NP (the idea) governs agreement, whether the clause is introduced with which, who, or that. (2) is incorrect, (1) is correct. And (3) The ideas that introduce a new relational representation ... is also correct, because ideas governs plural agreement on introduce. – John Lawler Jul 7 '13 at 17:28
  • 5
    You might rephrase it as: An idea that introduces... Unless you wish to claim that no other ideas introducing new relational representations are relevant. You might also skip the relative clause altogether, and trim the syntax as well: This paper presents an idea for a new relational representation. – jlovegren Jul 7 '13 at 17:41
  • @jlovegren Please see my comment @ terdon below. – Kris Jul 8 '13 at 6:42
  • @Kris see @ terdon 's comment to you :-) – jlovegren Jul 8 '13 at 23:36
  • @jlovegren :) same here – Kris Jul 9 '13 at 5:15

Any way you look at those sentences, they are cumbersome and hard to read. Why don't you just say (note the use of an instead of the)

The subject of this chapter is an idea that introduces a new relational representation.

In any case, of your two suggestions, the most correct would be the 1st:

The idea that introduces a new relational representation is the subject of this paper.

In this case, the subject of the verb to introduce is the idea, since that is in singular form, you should use the 3d person singular (introduces) with it. Your second example makes no sense as written.

  • Is the word that in my sentences (and the sentence you suggested in your answer) a relative pronoun? – Rasoul Jul 7 '13 at 19:21
  • @Rasoul whatever John Lawler said. – terdon Jul 7 '13 at 20:39
  • -1 Try not to suggest rephrasing when not specifically asked for. The question does not relate to 'writing effectively' (writersSE), rather the construction of the sentence and the use of a specific word. – Kris Jul 8 '13 at 6:40
  • @Kris you can't be serious! Why in the world not? The sentence suggested by the OP was very clumsy, why shouldn't I suggest an alternative? Editing suggestions may be off topic here and should not be requested, but I see nothing wrong with offering help. – terdon Jul 8 '13 at 12:07
  • @Rasoul you could make the argument that that is a relative pronoun, but Dr. Lawler's analysis is most standard. – jlovegren Jul 8 '13 at 23:35

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