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 I saw this question in an ESL book . Find the mistake and correct it in the following sentence :

 

"The playground wasn't used by children whom it was built for.

 

This question came after a brief explanation of relative clauses , so I expected the relative pronoun "whom" to be the mistake but i couldn't see why . Consequently , I thought the mistake could be the missing " the " before the word children . Finally , I said maybe he wanted me to replace" was built " with " had been built " .

😭 please , help me to find out the mistake in the sentence .

Thanks in advance .

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Yama posted:

 Find the mistake and correct it in the following sentence :

"The playground wasn't used by children whom it was built for.

This question came after a brief explanation of relative clauses , [. . .]

Hello, Yama, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange!

The sentence isn't ungrammatical, strictly speaking. It could be used to mean something that would be very strange to say, namely, that some of the children for whom the playground was build didn't use it.

Would you like to quote the "brief explanation of relative clauses" that comes before this example? If we could see that explanation, it would probably be easy for us to tell you what the author thinks is wrong.

Maybe, as you say, the author thinks "the" is needed. Or maybe s/he wants you to use a comma after "children," to make the relative clause nonrestrictive. Another possibility is that s/he wants you to use "for whom."

Last edited by David, Moderator

Thank you, DocV.

Yama posted:

Is it grammatically wrong to leave the preposition " for " at the end as it is ?

No, Yama, it isn't. You have the option to leave the preposition at the end of the relative clause, and you also have the option to bring it to the front of the relative clause. While the latter option does tend to sound more formal, the former option is still an option, and is every bit as grammatically correct.

Please do share with us the "brief explanation" you referred to. (Did you see what I did there? I spoke of the explanation you referred to, rather than of the explanation to which you referred.) It is possible that the author of the explanation has a misconception about this very matter.

Quote:

Is it grammatically wrong to leave the preposition " for " at the end as it is ?

Ha!  That question has been a major point of contention among grammarians for untold years.  I think that David will agree with me here, but this is my basic take on the subject, and I welcome any conjecture that he might have to offer:

The word "for" is perfectly correct and understandable in its position at the end of your example sentence.  Classicist prescriptivists have advised against this because "if you can't do it in Latin, you shouldn't be able to do it in English".  But this makes no sense, because the two languages don't follow the same rules.

The only problem with your question is with the word "preposition".  It implies that the word "for" must be positioned before ("pre-") its object.  Your sentence is perfectly grammatical, as long as we understand that "for" is not a preposition, but a post-positioned particle.

We can do things in English that we couldn't do in Latin.  And vice-versa.

I really hope this was helpful.

DocV

 

There's nothing wrong with the relative clause in the sentence "The playground wasn't used by children whom it was built for." Kudos to you, a nonnative speaker, for noticing as much. My ear strongly desires to place the determiner "the" before "children". However, this may not even be necessary because "whom it was built for" determines which specific children are being referenced. As such, it cannot be a matter of—as was suggested in comments—restrictive versus non restrictive modifier. If you place a comma after children (as you would with a nonrestrictive/nonessential element), then you change the meaning to suggest that the playground was not meant for any children whatsoever, but that is clearly not the writer's intention. Accordingly, the "children whom it was built for" is one, integrated entity (the modifier must be restrictive). There's also no issue with the preposition's placement. As that topic is debated even among linguists, that's not an appropriate question in an ESL book. It's likely that the writer of the book made a mistake, but perhaps there's a case for needing a determiner like "the" here. I'm an editor of test prep material (specifically grammar content), and I'd be as confused as you about why the writer supposes this sentence is wrong. There are many mistakes in handbooks—perhaps you've found one. Good students usually do.

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