Is “Hers was a good point” grammatical?

Would it be grammatical to say:

Hers was also a good point to include a header specifying the contact person.

as opposed to:

It was also a good point she made to include a header specifying the contact person.

Answer

1.) Hers was also a good point to include a header specifying the contact person.

2.) It was also a good point (that) she made to include a header specifying the contact person.

Version #1 seems to be a bit clumsy or awkward sounding. It would probably only be acceptable in a context where “her point” is discourse-old information. This means a context where the speaker and addressee already know, or just recently heard, what her point was. The reason why I’m saying that “her point” should probably be discourse-old info is that the subject “Hers” is referring to “her point”, and the subject often (or usually) holds old information (but not always, of course).

Version #2 is fine as is. It could be considered to be an extraposition construction, where the subject is the dummy pronoun “It”. The extraposed element would be “to include a header specifying the contact person”.

2.) It was also a good point (that) she made [to include a header specifying the contact person].

A non-extraposed version could be:

2.b) [To include a header specifying the contact person] was also a good point (that) she made.

There’s also another version too:

2.c) A good point (that) she made was [to include a header specifying the contact person].

Some of the reasons why speakers and writers use extraposition is that:

  • In the extraposition construction, the extraposed element can be discourse-new information, and often it is. And usually it is preferable to have the new info near the end of a clause (e.g. not in subject position).

  • In general, a heavy element doesn’t function well as a subject. And so, if the subject were to hold a subordinate clause, then often the subordinate clause is extraposed because a subordinate clause can often be a heavy element. And, also, it is preferable to have the heavier elements at the end of a clause.

  • Sometimes the non-extraposed version is not acceptable (i.e. ungrammatical).

In conclusion: Version #1 is kinda awkward (imo) and might not be pragmatically acceptable in some contexts. Version #2 is fine as is.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *