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“that” referring to a preceding phrase

What does “that” mean in the following sentences? Are there any rules which apply to the exact phrases which “that” refers to?

1. The graphs above show the rates of electricity generation of Kansas and “that” of the U.S. total in 2010. 

Q. Doesn’t “that” refer to “electricity generation”? If yes, isn’t “of” needed before “that”? 

2. The rate of electricity generation by nuclear power plants in Kansas was about the same as that of the U.S. total. 

Q. Doesn’t “that” refer to “the rate of electricity generation by nuclear power plants”? If yes, why is it “that in the U.S. total”, instead of “that of the U.S. total” to be parallel with in Kansas?

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"That" and "this" are commonly used (somewhat vaguely) to refer to the whole idea in the previous sentence or paragraph, so it is not surprising to find that the usage in this sentence is also somewhat imprecise.
Q1 "of" not needed here as "that" is non-specific: using "those" instead would refer specifically to "rates"
Q2 "That" in the second sentence might be construed as referring to "rate": so "of", "for" or "in" would work. Absolute parallelism not necessary for understanding here, although in general it is a good idea, and often taught as such.
That said, the questions are good ones; it is just depends on what type of document is being written. If this is for, say, a university paper and precise language is important, I might go with "those of the US in total" and "the same as that for the US as a whole".

jayles the unworthy May 31, 2017, 7:35am

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