Re: Attraction of Relative (was Incorrect Greek)

From: clayton stirling bartholomew (
Date: Tue Sep 22 1998 - 12:24:44 EDT

Adam, Professor AKM wrote:

> " Or is there a rule that
> stipulates when an author *ought* to assign relative pronouns a case that
> conflicts with its role in its own clause? "

Professor Adam,

This is a case worth considering because this conflict is common enough that
the grammarians have invented a term for it, Attraction. Perhaps you are
speaking of a situation where the relative pronoun is in the wrong case for
its role in its own clause and is NOT attracted to the case of the antecedent.

I have always found the notion of "attraction" somewhat dubious. It looks to a
skeptic like the grammarians didn't have the slightest idea why the relative
pronoun was in the wrong case for its role in its own clause, they glanced
back and saw that it agreed with the case of the antecedent and so the
invented the idea of attraction to account for it.

I don't think I have ever seen a clear functional description of the
attraction of the relative. The grammarians just point out that it happens
without any attempt at explaining how attraction functions within the Greek
language system, what purpose it serves.

Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
Three Tree Point
P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062

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