Look below, please:

- The design of the new house is similar to those that have already been built, so they prefer to look for modern ones.

To me, the sentence is not well written. I believe the correct sentences are:

1) The design of the new house is similar to those houses that have already been built, so they prefer to look for modern ones.

2) The new house is similar in design to those that have already been built, so they prefer to look for modern ones.

 

What do you think? Are you OK with the original sentence? (Source: unknown)

Well, two problems, actually:

  1. What's the referent to "they"? It's not in the sentence, so it must refer to some noun in another sentence (It doesn't really stand alone, but I can understand some people may argue that 'they' were people who had been named or described in an earlier sentence, which does not exist.) 
  2. To what do the words "those" and "ones" refer? Those words should refer to words that are in the same sentence. Otherwise we're saying that designs are similar to houses.

 

Correct me if I am wrong, please.

 

Original Post

Hi, Freeguy,

I prefer your version (2) of the original sentence. What is being compared is the design of houses, or houses in terms of their design. Another option could be:

3) The design of the new house is similar to that of houses that have already been built, so they prefer to look for modern ones. (To be frank, I don't understand the idea underlying the "so they prefer to look for modern ones" part.)

Last edited by Gustavo, Contributor

1. Apparently, they refers to the people who had been described in an earlier sentence. 

2. Thanks for your suggestion. What do you think about the first part of the original sentence?

The first part is fine. I wasn't actually wondering about the meaning of "they" but about their preferring to look for modern houses/designs as a direct consequence of what was said before.

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