Talk:in that

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Tea room discussion[edit]

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Somehow I think this deserves its own entry. One of my ESL students could not deduce it from its parts. Have no idea what PoS it would be though - any ideas? ---> Tooironic 02:27, 18 March 2010 (UTC) Oh, I mean in that in this way: This essay is a good one in that it comprehensively outlines all the major arguments on this issue. ---> Tooironic 02:29, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

It seems to fit with because and its synonyms. I think it is an adverb, but it could be a conjunction. -- ALGRIF talk 13:52, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
I'd call it a conjunction; and yes, I think it deserves in own entry. —RuakhTALK 14:06, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
I've taken a stab at it. Please revise.​—msh210 19:11, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

Sum-of-parts. The example's that it outlines the arguments is an independent phrase. In could have been followed by how it covers the topic, or its coverage of the topic, or dozens of others. Defining in that will lead to misunderstanding by ESL students. Michael Z. 2010-03-18 20:14 z

  • Er – no. It's rather unusual to use in + "an independent phrase" like that, and a more normal analysis would be to say that "it outlines the arguments" is a clause and then work out how the clause is attached. Nor is it at all clear what in would mean if you considered it separately. I don't see how defining the collocation would lead to misunderstanding. When you think of a line like "Let him die, in that he is a fox" from 2 Henry VI, you can see that it already seems to have fused and become a "because"-like single entity. Ƿidsiþ 20:36, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
    • Actually, I think MZ's right. It outlines the arguments is a clause, but that before it turns it into a NP (see caveat, next sentence), and the in before that is, as MZ said, like in before any ther NP, like the ones he mentions. ("NP" might be the wrong term, but these act like NPs, anyway, serving as subjects and objects.) This is SoP. But I suspect modern native speakers don't think of it that way, treating in that as a synonym/hyponym of because. I'm not sure that we shouldn't have an entry for it. If not, then perhaps link "in that" as a hyponym s.v. "because".​—msh210 17:21, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Yes, I agree, it's mostly SOP for me, in that I only use it in ways that nearly mean in + that. (BTW, if you're wondering: "NP" stands for "noun phrase", which this isn't; traditional grammar would call it one kind of "noun clause", and I believe the CGEL would call it a declarative content clause functioning as a nominal.) However, it nonetheless seems idiomatic to me, in that most English prepositions don't accept that-clauses as complements, or accept them only very awkwardly; compare ?"we talked about that he's coming", or ?"it surprised us, due to that we were informed otherwise". —RuakhTALK 17:49, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
Awkward-sounding, but completely correct, and in some circumstances may carry important meaning not easily stated otherwise. It's common to try to smooth such constructions by inserting due to the fact thatMichael Z. 2010-03-19 20:34 z [corrected a missed word]
"Completely correct" is pushing it. I'd agree with "completely intelligible", and maybe with "not completely incorrect". And inserting "the fact" doesn't so much "smooth" the construction as replace it with a completely different one. But regardless, you obviously do accept that "in that" is not awkward at all (in fact, it's more natural than "in the fact that"), whereas ?"about that" and ?"due to that" are at best very awkward, even though "about the fact that" and "due to the fact that" are 100% fine. Surely that says something about the idiomaticity of "in that"? —RuakhTALK 21:26, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Thanks guys. I've added my example sentence. Looks good. ---> Tooironic 22:10, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Widsith, I distinctly remember my high school teacher telling us not to use this, which is why I tagged it "proscribed".​—msh210 17:21, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
In that does not appear in Garner's Modern American Usage (2009), which is fairly inclusive of disputed current usage. The term also appears in RHU and AHD as run-in entries at "in", and (of course) in WordNet, all without remark. DCDuring TALK 19:33, 19 March 2010 (UTC)