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It's a script from the book Metaphysics by Aristotle. enter image description here

I wonder about grammaticality. In what way are "those things a thought" and "those a thought" grammatically correct? I thought at first they were appositions, but I think now there is omission of commas between these and those and "a thought"s are related with clauses themselves; I don't know why commas are omitted, though. (They are located in line 4 and 5 repectively.)

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  • Have you tried looking at other translations?
    – Stuart F
    Mar 16, 2023 at 7:50
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    I would have included a comma. It's not "those things a thought", but "those things, a thought about which is a single thought". The phrase I have italicised describes the 'things'. Mar 16, 2023 at 8:55
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    (I wonder if the translator thought this is a defining relative clause and therefore shouldn't have a comma.)
    – Stuart F
    Mar 16, 2023 at 9:30
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    @AndrewLeach - It was meant as a comment, not an authoritative answer. Mar 16, 2023 at 12:02
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    There should not be a comma; insert the relative pronoun that to see that you have a restrictive relative clause. Mar 16, 2023 at 14:03

1 Answer 1

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Your question is like asking what "man who" means in the sentence "I saw a man who worked at the shop." :)

Your sentence:

This group comprises those things a thought about which is a single thought.

can be rephrased as:

This group comprises those things that you can think about in a single thought.

So the second part of the sentence (in bold) describes the "things" in the first part.

I'll try to explain the grammar used in your original sentence with a fictional dialog of two philosophers:

Aristotle: You know what's interesting about these things?
Confusius: No, what?
Aristotle: A thought about these things is a single thought.
Confusius: Wow! You should totally put them in a group!
Aristotle: What group?
Confusius: A group of these things.
Aristotle: What things?
Confusius: The things that you think about in a single thought.
Aristotle: You mean, a group of things that when you think about them, the thought about them is a single thought?
Confusius: Totally!
Aristotle: Okay, look at the group I made!
Confusius: Wow! This group comprises those things a thought about which is a single thought!

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