4

Microsoft built a number of features into Windows 9x that allow previous users of DOS and Windows 3.x to capitalize on their investment and that allow technicians access to DOS-based troubleshooting.

  • What would be the difference in interpretation? – jimm101 Dec 29 '19 at 0:44
  • What would be the difference in interpretation? – jimm101 Dec 29 '19 at 0:44
9

Both instances of "that" refer back to the specific features alluded to at the beginning of the sentence when it says "a number of features".

Microsoft built a number of features into Windows 9x that allow previous users of DOS and Windows 3.x to capitalize on their investment and that allow technicians access to DOS-based troubleshooting.

If there were no mention of the "features", you wouldn't need "that", see this example:

Microsoft Windows 9x allows users to.... and technicians to....

But:

Windows 9x has features that allow users to... and technicians to...

  • 5
    You’d also see “allows” (-s case agreement with singular “Windows 9x”) instead of “allow”, as your counter-example has it. I wonder if the confusion is in part not recognizing that “Windows 9x” is grammatically singular, despite appearances. – Robin Dec 27 '19 at 9:27
  • So it isn't a requirement that the word "that" refers to the noun immediately preceding it, isn't it? – Amr Mahmoud Dec 27 '19 at 10:05
  • 3
    @AmrMahmoud No - for example "I have a car parked in my garage that is red". The car is red, not the garage. – Astralbee Dec 27 '19 at 10:25
  • Thanks for your help, much appreciated. – Amr Mahmoud Dec 27 '19 at 10:41
  • 1
    @Astralbee's example illustrates "that" pretty well. If you wanted to talk about the garage instead, you could write "I have a car parked in my garage, which is red." – Bladewood Dec 27 '19 at 20:02
3

Let's address this in a very simple manner. Remove into Windows 9x from the sentence. Let us withhold the subject (Windows 9x in this case) for a moment. Does the sentence still make sense? Does the sentence satisfy subject-verb agreement? If it does, like in this case, then that refers to 'number of features'.

Let me emphasize on the usage of allow and that here. If the sentence corresponded to Windows 9x, then that would have changed to which—mostly between commas as an explanation of what Windows 9x is—and allow would have been changed to allows, to satiate subject-verb agreement.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.