This is Jack who works with a foreign trading company in
Guangzhou. I have just graduated from college. My major was Business
English. I like English grammar very much. No matter what English articles
I read, I pay more attention to sentence structures and usages of words
than other contents.
Today I find this sentence confusing. This sentence, I think, is wrong.
What is your opinion?
Title of the news article: 广州鼓励独生子女夫妇生二胎
Sentence: Parents who are
the only children of their families are being encouraged to have a second
child in a major effort to balance the city's aging population.
我觉得这个句子有问题. parents 是中心词。who are the only children of their families
是定语从句, who 代替parents , 如果把parents 放在这个定语从句里, 就是parents are the only
children of their families. 显然这句话是有问题的, 要不parents = the only children了。
1. Parents (of / who have) the only children in their families are
being encouraged to have a second child in a major effort to balance the
city's aging population.
2. Parents in whose families there are the only children are being
encouraged to have a second child in a major effort to balance the city's
I am looking forward to your reply.
You've done a great exercise. You'll learn from it. I'll
just point out a thing or two to help you learn.
Unlike most people, you've encountered a confusing sentence in English
and have chosen to clear up the confusion by making an extra effort. Keep
Your conclusions are wrong, but your grammatical analysis is correct.
Parents, like you say, are the subject matter in the article (I found the
article in full via Google). "Who are the only children of their
families", like you say, is the attributive clause modifying "parents".
And yes, parents are the only children of their families ("parents =
the only children"), which you say is not as it should have been. It
That is where you got it wrong. If I understood you perfectly, your
confusion might have arisen from your failing to grasp the main point of
You thought a new regulation was introduced in regard to parents of all
one-child families. That is incorrect. The regulation in fact addresses
only those couples who had themselves been an only child (before they grow
up, got married and had their own families). So far, each of these couples
has one child. They are encouraged to have one more.
You've done a great exercise in that after this lot of work you put in,
you won't forget the lessons to be learned.
Praises aside, let me offer you a piece of advice.
When reading, focus on meaning. You say you "pay more attention to
sentence structures and usages of words than other contents". I think you
should pay at least as much, if not more, attention to "other contents".
In what is called extensive reading, which is what you'll be doing most
of the time as a foreign trade businessman, you skim (casting broader
looks) through texts rather than scan (examining and scrutinizing every
word in print). You must learn to extract meaning quickly and correctly.
Now that you're out of school, you won't have the time to do what you
used to do in school - "intensive reading", that is, whereby you get to
tear sentences apart and to analyze how and why some words work better
when they are bundled in a particular way. You may continue to do that, of
course, so long as you find the time for inking foreign trade deals.
Besides, if you focus on meaning you'll actually find it easier to do
what you enjoy doing - taking sentences apart and scrutinizing words for
their grammatical significance. Once you've got the main points, the rest
just falls into place.
Or in the spirit of your writing (mixing English with Chinese), this is
what the Chinese call 纲举目张。
Thank you, Jack, for sharing.