to check/to check it

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to check/to check it

Post by navi » Sat Jan 15, 2022 12:40 am

Which are correct:

1) The police need a warrant for your DNA to check against the sample they found in the victim's car.

2) The police need a warrant for your DNA to check it against the sample they found in the victim's car.

3) The police need a warrant for your DNA in order to check against the sample they found in the victim's car.

4) The police need a warrant for your DNA in order to check it against the sample they found in the victim's car.


Gratefully,
Navi
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Re: to check/to check it

Post by Phil White » Sat Jan 15, 2022 1:09 pm

Sentence 3 is definitely badly formed. The phrase "in order to" introduces a subordinate clause which must be grammatically complete (i.e. the object of the transitive verb "check" must be present in the form of "it".

In sentence 2, the "to" is understood in the meaning of "in order to" and is therefore correct.

Sentence 1 is far more difficult to analyse. The entire phrase "to check against the sample they found in the victim's car" is acting as a predicative adjective describing the DNA. In this case, the direct object of "check" is not needed.

The construction can be seen in sentences such as:
  • I have no garlic to put into the soup.
  • Do you have something to give to the charity collector?
  • I have nothing to say to you.
I suppose that these could all be seen as ellipted relative clauses of the kind "that I can", where the objective relative pronoun has been lost (along with the subject and modal verb) and replaced by "to". In your sentence 1, the meaning is therefore something like "DNA that they could check".
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Signature: Phil White
Non sum felix lepus

Re: to check/to check it

Post by tony h » Sun Jan 16, 2022 8:49 pm

my issue is different to Phil's. I have a problem with the logic of "The police need a warrant for your DNA ". Now I am not sure whether the phrasing you use is a colloquialism of the police or America but my non-specialist thought is that they "need a warrant to take a sample from which DNA can be extracted".

" a warrant for your DNA" is cast is the mould of Shylock's (unenforceable) contract with Antonio in The Merchant of Venice.

PS (as a life note) I have often relied on a "Portia's defence" to sign contracts (eg tenancies) knowing that the landlords penalty charges are unenforceable.
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Signature: tony

I'm puzzled therefore I think.

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