I was wondering if the following sentence is clear:

The book industry in Japan is very different from [that/those] in many other western countries.

My questions are:

  1. Is it correct to use that there? Or should it be replaced by those, to agree with western countries?
  2. In this sentence, is that (or those) taken to refer to "the book industry" or "the book industry in Japan"? because I kind of feel that it would be clearer if the sentence read

    In Japan the book industry is very different from [that/those] in many other western countries.

    But I am not quite sure, because to me as a non-native English speaker the two sentences mean the same thing. Which one is better, which is more precise for academic writing?

  • 1
    BTW As Japan is not a Western country, you shouldn't refer to "other" Western countries, and Western should be capitalised.
    – Neil W
    Apr 16, 2014 at 13:54

1 Answer 1


Different from that of many other countries.

that is correct, those is plural and could work here since you are referring to a number of countries. The comparison you are making is the book industry in Japan vs the rest of the world.

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