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As vital as their igloos, which permit the Innuits to live in reasonable comfort in an icy land, and just as ingenious, is their winter clothing, so perfect in design and material that it makes them nearly impervious to any arctic weather. (Source of this sentence: as vital as their igloos which permit the innuits to live in).

Subject of this sentence is winter clothing (their winter clothing). I faced no trouble to find out what the subject is. As winter clothing is the subject, all verbs assoiciated with winter clothing will be sigular as well.

What is which permit the Innuits to live in reasonable comfort in an icy land talking about? Is it talking about winter clothing? Or is it talking about iglooswhich permit the Innuits to live in reasonable comfort in an icy land contains a verb, permit, which is in plural form. So it is talking about igloos.

 

However, I cannot understand about what and just as ingenious is talking. Is it giving an extra information about igloos? If it did so, was there any necessecity of placing a comma before and? As just as ingenious and which permit the Innuits to live in reasonable comfort in an icy land both modify igloos, and was enough to join them. Why has a comma been placed infront of and?

 

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Hi, Nousher—I see that you have brought us a complex specimen to parse.

As vital as their igloos, which permit the Innuits to live in reasonable comfort in an icy land, and just as ingenious, is their winter clothing, so perfect in design and material that it makes them nearly impervious to any arctic weather. (Source of this sentence: as vital as their igloos which permit the innuits to live in).

Subject of this sentence is winter clothing (their winter clothing). I faced no trouble to find out what the subject is. As winter clothing is the subject, all verbs assoiciated with winter clothing will be sigular as well.

Yes, that's right.

What is which permit the Innuits to live in reasonable comfort in an icy land talking about? Is it talking about winter clothing?

No. That relative clause modifies "igloos."

 Or is it talking about igloos?

Yes.

which permit the Innuits to live in reasonable comfort in an icy land contains a verb, permit, which is in plural form. So it is talking about igloos.

 

Right.

However, I cannot understand about what and just as ingenious is talking. Is it giving an extra information about igloos? If it did so, was there any necessecity of placing a comma before and? As just as ingenious and which permit the Innuits to live in reasonable comfort in an icy land both modify igloos, and was enougah to join them. Why has a comma been placed infront of and?

"And just as ingenious" forms a coordinate structure with "As vital." Below I have rearranged the sentence so that you can see clearly how the sentence is put together. The subject of the main clause ("their winter clothing") is in dark green; the predicate of the main clause ("is as vital and just as ingenious as [are] their igloos" or "is as vital and just as ingenious as their igloos [are]") is in blue; and the two relative clauses, one modifying "igloos" ("which permit the Innuits to live in reasonable comfort in an icy land") and the other modifying "their winter clothing" ("[which is] so perfect in design and material that it makes them nearly impervious to any arctic weather") are in brown. Starting with the sentence as you have found it in print, I have manipulated the phrases for your grammatical enlightenment.

(1a) As vital as [are] their igloos, which permit the Innuits to live in reasonable comfort in an icy landand just as ingeniousis their winter clothing, [which is] so perfect in design and material that it makes them nearly impervious to any arctic weather.

(1b) As vital and just as ingenious as [are] their igloos, which permit the Innuits to live in reasonable comfort in an icy land, is their winter clothing, [which is] so perfect in design and material that it makes them nearly impervious to any arctic weather.

(1c) Their winter clothing, [which is] so perfect in design and material that it makes them nearly impervious to any arctic weather, is as vital and just as ingenious as [are] their igloos, which permit the Innuits to live in reasonable comfort in an icy land.

Last edited by David, Moderator

Hi, Nousher—I see that you have brought us a complex specimen to parse.

Yes, that's right.

No. That relative clause modifies "igloos."

Yes.

Right.

"And just as ingenious" forms a coordinate structure with "As vital." Below I have rearranged the sentence so that you can see clearly how the sentence is put together. The subject of the main clause ("their winter clothing") is in dark green; the predicate of the main clause ("is as vital and just as ingenious as [are] their igloos" or "is as vital and just as ingenious as their igloos [are]") is in blue; and the two relative clauses, one modifying "igloos" ("which permit the Innuits to live in reasonable comfort in an icy land") and the other modifying "their winter clothing" ("[which is] so perfect in design and material that it makes them nearly impervious to any arctic weather") are in brown. Starting with the sentence as you have found it in print, I have manipulated the phrases for your grammatical enlightenment.

(1a) As vital as [are] their igloos, which permit the Innuits to live in reasonable comfort in an icy landand just as ingeniousis their winter clothing, [which is] so perfect in design and material that it makes them nearly impervious to any arctic weather.

(1b) As vital and just as ingenious as [are] their igloos, which permit the Innuits to live in reasonable comfort in an icy land, is their winter clothing, [which is] so perfect in design and material that it makes them nearly impervious to any arctic weather.

(1c) Their winter clothing, [which is] so perfect in design and material that it makes them nearly impervious to any arctic weather, is as vital and just as ingenious as [are] their igloos, which permit the Innuits to live in reasonable comfort in an icy land.

Sir, The questions I have asked recently are related to sentence correction problems. These sentences are long, and many a time I have found them difficult to understand. I needed explanations from an expert. Luckily I have found Azar Grammar Exchange where experts like you helped a me a lot. I am really grateful to you for your help. Your explanations helped me a lot understand long and tough sentences.

 

Igloos are both vital and ingenious. Hence we can write this sentence in the following way which you have already suggested. 
 
As vital and just as ingenious as their igloos, which permit the Innuits to live in reasonable comfort in an icy land, is their winter clothing, so perfect in design and material that it makes them nearly impervious to any arctic weather.
 
I like to learn why just as ingenious has been separated from its main clause. which permit the Innuits to live in reasonable comfort in an icy land modifies igloos, and has been inserted between As vital as their igloos and just as ingenious. If these two parts would stay together, meaning could be understood easily.
 
 
Last edited by Nousher Ahmed

Sir, The questions I have asked recently are related to sentence correction problems. These sentences are long, and many a time I have found them difficult to understand. I needed explanations from an expert. Luckily I have found Azar Grammar Exchange where experts like you helped a me a lot. I am really grateful to you for your help. Your explanations helped me a lot understand long and tough sentences.

Thank you for your kind words, Nousher.

I like to learn why just as ingenious has been separated from its main clause. which permit the Innuits to live in reasonable comfort in an icy land modifies igloos, and has been inserted between As vital as their igloos and just as ingenious. If these two parts would stay together, meaning could be understood easily.

The separation of "and just as ingenious" from the phrase with which it is coordinated ("As vital") gives it the quality of an afterthought, of something which the speaker decides he wants to add in the process of speaking.

In other words, the clause describing "igloos" ("which permit the Innuits to live in reasonable comfort in an icy land") may strike the speaker as making igloos ingenious, and he may realize that "ingenious" also applies to Innuit clothing.

The sentence is a complicated one—uncommonly complicated. Native speakers don't go around casually inverting their sentences, separating and delaying predicates as afterthoughts, and using multiple nonrestrictive relative clauses.

So don't feel bad if you find this sentence a mindbender. Probably any other learner would, too. The problem may be simplified by trimming off the relative clauses and using normal sentence order: subject—copula—complement:

(A) Their winter clothing is as vital and just as ingenious as their igloos.
(B) Their winter clothing is as vital as their igloos and just as ingenious.

An alternative to parsing "and just as ingenious" as a postponed conjunct to "as vital" is to parse it as a reduced clause, likewise added as an afterthought. That is, (B) can be seen as deriving either from (A) or from (C): 

(C) Their winter clothing is as vital as their igloos [are] and [is] just as ingenious as their igloos [are].

Last edited by David, Moderator

Thank you for your kind words, Nousher.

The separation of "and just as ingenious" from the phrase with which it is coordinated ("As vital") gives it the quality of an afterthought, of something which the speaker decides he wants to add in the process of speaking.

In other words, the clause describing "igloos" ("which permit the Innuits to live in reasonable comfort in an icy land") may strike the speaker as making igloos ingenious, and he may realize that "ingenious" also applies to Innuit clothing.

The sentence is a complicated one—uncommonly complicated. Native speakers don't go around casually inverting their sentences, separating and delaying predicates as afterthoughts, and using multiple nonrestrictive relative clauses.

So don't feel bad if you find this sentence a mindbender. Probably any other learner would, too. The problem may be simplified by trimming off the relative clauses and using normal sentence order: subject—copula—complement:

(A) Their winter clothing is as vital and just as ingenious as their igloos.
(B) Their winter clothing is as vital as their igloos and just as ingenious.

An alternative to parsing "and just as ingenious" as a postponed conjunct to "as vital" is to parse it as a reduced clause, likewise added as an afterthought. That is, (B) can be seen as deriving either from (A) or from (C): 

(C) Their winter clothing is as vital as their igloos [are] and [is] just as ingenious as their igloos [are].

Sir, thanks for clearing my doubt. 

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