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in a situation where/that they can ....

Discussion in 'English Only' started by jiamajia, Jun 14, 2012.

  1. jiamajia

    jiamajia Senior Member

    Mandarin
    It’s helpful to put children in a situation where/that they can enhance their self-esteem.

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    Someone asks me which to chooce. I know the intended answer is 'where', but I just can't explain why 'that' doesn't work. Is it actually applicable there、 Thank you.
     
  2. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    London
    English - South-East England
    'That' is applicable only with the actual word 'place' (and maybe some exact synonyms - 'location', 'spot' work for me, I think). Other words for places require a place-type expression such as 'where' or 'in which' or 'that . . . in'.

    the place that I lost my wallet
    the place where I lost my wallet
    :cross:the room that I lost my wallet
    the room that I lost my wallet in
    the room where I lost my wallet

    Although it's a very general word, 'situation' isn't enough of a synonym to allow the 'place' grammar.
     
  3. Bretzky Junior Member

    Pittsburgh, Pa., USA
    English - United States
    Hi jiamajia,

    I can't say that this is absolutely correct, but here's my educated guess.

    "Where" is appropriate here because you are talking about a place or a situation. Here are some examples of sentences where that is also the case:

    He wants to buy a home in a neighborhood where he can feel safe.
    She is in a relationship where truth is indistinguishable from fiction.
    My brother works in a building where the air conditioning does not work.

    In essence, anytime that you can replace the conjunction with "in which", you can use "where".

    For example, I can re-write your sentence as: "It's helpful to put children in a situation in which they can enhance their self-esteem."

    "In which" cannot be used, however, in place of "that".
     
  4. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    Texas
    English - US
    "where" references a place. The place is "in a situation".
    They can enhance their self-esteem in a situation.

    "that" references a thing. The thing is "situation" by itself.
    They can enhance their self-esteem the situation. :cross: Two objects.
    The situation they can enhance their self-esteem. :cross: Two subjects.
    The situation can enhance their self-esteem. :tick:
    "That" can only be used if the sentence is rewritten without "they":
    It’s helpful to put children in a situation that they can enhance their self-esteem.
     
  5. jiamajia

    jiamajia Senior Member

    Mandarin
    Thank you all for the helpful replies.
     
  6. screenactorsguild Senior Member

    Vietnam
    Vietnamese
    I still don't clearly understand.
    If we can use "in a situation where" , why we have another phrases like "in a period when" or "in the time that..."?
     
  7. Cagey post mod

    California
    English - US
    I am not certain that I understand your question. Are you asking why we have several ways to say the same thing, or approximately the same thing?
     
  8. JungKim Senior Member

    Korean
    I've been reading threads like this and got a question.
    This question is directed to etb but anyone can answer it.

    I had a thread titled "...with the same consideration + relative clause".

    To borrow etb's vocabulary, is "consideration" in my thread enough of a synonym to allow the 'place' grammar?
     

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