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Although the term "supercomputer" may sound fanciful or exaggerated, it is simply an extremely fast mainframe that can execute trillions of calculations every second.

What is the antecedent? Why is it wrong?

  • The antecedent is 'the term "supercomputer" '. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 5 '14 at 23:04
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    Without commenting on the veracity of the claim, you could rewrite your sentence as The term "supercomputer" (which may sound fanciful or exaggerated) refers to an extremely fast mainframe that ... and avoid the "problem" all together. – Elliott Frisch Jun 5 '14 at 23:12
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    The subject is term. Terms are not mainframes, fast or slow. They remain terms. – Oldcat Jun 5 '14 at 23:17
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    Like Oldcat said. But terms can be "its". It's not the pronoun that's wrong, it's the verb. Elliott's re-writing works partly because it changes the verb from "is" to "refers to", which is more appropriate to the subject "term". Another rewording would be just to change the OP's "it is simply" to "it simply refers to". – Rupe Jun 5 '14 at 23:29
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    I get it. "it simply refers to an extremely..." fits correctly. – vickyace Jun 5 '14 at 23:36
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Although the term "supercomputer" may sound fanciful or exaggerated, it is simply an extremely fast mainframe that can execute trillions of calculations every second.

Taking this sentence in isolation, the antecedent is the term "supercomputer", so it is a word.

A word cannot be a mainframe computer, so it is simply a mainframe doesn't make sense.

The sentence would work if you changed the verb is for means:

Although the term "supercomputer" may sound fanciful or exaggerated, it simply means an extremely fast mainframe that can execute trillions of calculations every second.

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