What does “that” mean?

Posted: August 31, 2012 in 2012, Barack Obama, Build that, Grammar

I am amused by all the misdirection about a simple statement.

The quote was:

“Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

8th grade English demands that in a sentence you must make pronouns agree in person and number with their antecedents.

Had he said “those”, it would be obvious he was talking about “roads and bridges” because you would go back TO THE LAST ANTECEDENT prior to the pronoun that agrees in number. “That”,  however is singular and the immediately preceding singular noun is “business”. You have to go back another sentence to find another singular antecedent.

 
If the people that were trying to put it “into context” would simply attribute a grammatical mistake and say, “He meant ‘those’ instead of ‘that'”, they would me much better off. Of course that would meant that their “acclaimed orator” and Harvard educated Law Professor misspoke a simple sentence and that would be “racist”.

The problem is that they understood that he said exactly what he meant, and the misdirection, instead of saying it was a common (among the less educated) grammatical mistake,proves that they understood it that way  and are covering.

Kinda sorta reminiscent of “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is” ain’t it?

 

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