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Hello, everyone,

“Pre-emption means that a strategy is designed to prevent a rival from starting some particular activity. In some case a pre-emptive move may simply be an announcement of some intent that might discourage rivals from doing the same. The idea of pre-emption implies that timing is sometimes very important — a decision or an action at one point in time might be much more rewarding than doing it at a different time point. Pre-emption may involve up-weighting advertising for a period before and during when a new entrant launches into a market. The intent is to make it more difficult for the new entrant’s advertising to make an impression on potential buyers. Product proliferation is another potential pre-emption strategy. The general idea is to launch a large variety of product variants so that there is very little in the way of consumer needs or wants that is not accommodated.“

About the underlined part above, I parse as follows;

- “In the way of consumer needs or wants” as a prepositional phrase is modifying the subject “very little”.

- The preceding noun for the relative “that” seems to be “very little”.

By the way, am I plausible;

1. if I rephrase the underlined part above “there is hardly <any of consumer needs or wants> (in the way of consumer needs or wants) [that is not accommodated]”, considering the pronoun “very little” means “hardly any of something”?

2. if I guess the exact preceding noun of “that” in a strict sense would be “any of something, or any of consumer needs or wants”, though the seemingly external one is “very little” (like the fused relative “what” means “the thing which”)?

I would appreciate it, if you kindly give me valuable opinions.

* source; ‘Marketing Planning & Strategy: A Practical Introduction’ by John Dawes

Last edited by deepcosmos
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@f6pafd posted:

"Little in the way of something"  means "not much of somthing."

Then the sentence underlined means "there is not much of consumer needs or wants that is not accommodated."

Hello, f6pafd, thanks for your reply, but the points of my question are to find out;

1. if “very little” can be rephrased into “hardly any of consumer needs or wants”?

2. if the exact preceding noun of “that” would be "very little" or “any of consumer needs or wants" in a strict sense ?

3. additionally, if "little in the way of" in a set belongs to "complex quantifiers" such as "a lot of"?

Last edited by deepcosmos

"little in the way of" means "not much/enough in the way of something)(=not much of something)" (Longman dictionary of contemporary English)

"in the way of"  is used "to specify the kind of thing you are talking about." (Collins English dictionary)

1)  Based on the above dictionary definitions, your rephrasing is correct.

2)  By "the preceding noun". you mean, I presume, "the antecedent." (the correct grammatical term for "the preceding noun.)

The antecedent of "that" (relative pronoun) is "little," and "of consumer needs and wants" functions as an attributive modifier to "little."  Of course, there is no harm in treating the combination "little of consumer needs and wants" as a whole, for the sake of convenience.

3)  See the definition of "little in the way of" quoted above from Longman dictionary,  it seems to be an established way of saying "not much of."  you may well regard it as a "complex quantifier."  "A lot of" sounds more colloquial,"  while "little in the way of" is more literary.

Last edited by f6pafd
@deepcosmos posted:

there is very little in the way of consumer needs or wants that is not accommodated.“

About the underlined part above, I parse as follows;

- “In the way of consumer needs or wants” as a prepositional phrase is modifying the subject “very little”.



Yes, Deepcosmos, that's right.

@deepcosmos posted:

- The preceding noun for the relative “that” seems to be “very little”.



The "that"-relative clause, along with "very," modifies the pronoun "little."

@deepcosmos posted:


By the way, am I plausible;

1. if I rephrase the underlined part above “there is hardly <any of consumer needs or wants> (in the way of consumer needs or wants) [that is not accommodated]”, considering the pronoun “very little” means “hardly any of something”?



It's OK, but I prefer the following as a paraphrase:

  • There are very few consumer needs or wants that are not accommodated.
@deepcosmos posted:

2. if I guess the exact preceding noun of “that” in a strict sense would be “any of something, or any of consumer needs or wants”, though the seemingly external one is “very little” (like the fused relative “what” means “the thing which”)?



That's an interesting thought. Why do you want to postulate an antecedent that is different from the antecedent that one sees? Semantics is not syntax.

Last edited by David, Moderator

It's OK, but I prefer the following as a paraphrase:

  • There are very few consumer needs or wants that are not accommodated.

That's an interesting thought. Why do you want to postulate an antecedent that is different from the antecedent that one sees? Semantics is not syntax.

Hi, David, really appreciate your clarification with note.

By the way, my last inquiry is, "Is there no possibility at all that we consider 'little in the way of' in a set to be "a complex quantifier" such as "a lot of" with "consumer needs or wants" the real subject in my original sentence?

Would hope to hear once again.

Last edited by deepcosmos
@deepcosmos posted:

By the way, my last inquiry is, "Is there no possibility at all that we consider 'little in the way of' in a set to be "a complex quantifier" such as "a lot of" with "consumer needs or wants" the real subject in my original sentence?

I'm not sure that would be a good idea, Deepcosmos, since "in the way of" can be added, not only to "little," but also to "a lot," "not much," "hardly anything."

Last edited by David, Moderator

I'm not sure that would be a good idea, Deepcosmos, since "in the way of" can be added, not only to "little," but also to "a lot," "not much," "hardly anything."

Sincerely appreciate your additional clarification, David, which has finally solved out all my questions related to this thread. My last one has been issued, since I've seen a British who said 'little in the way of' in a set is "quantifier".

Last edited by deepcosmos

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