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.)

  • Have you tried looking at other translations?
    – Stuart F
    Mar 16, 2023 at 7:50
  • 3
    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
  • 1
    (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
  • 1
    @AndrewLeach - It was meant as a comment, not an authoritative answer. Mar 16, 2023 at 12:02
  • 1
    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


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!

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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