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What is that you want? (That = lo que?)

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by CuervoGold, Aug 16, 2013.

  1. CuervoGold Senior Member

    Spain
    Spanish
    Hola a todos,

    Estoy un poco confundida con la función del pronombre "that" en "What is that you want?" That, is it a relative pronoun or "the thing that"?

    Pensaba que la forma correcta de traducir al inglés "¿Qué es lo que quieres?" era What is it that you want? O bien What is what you want?

    ¿El "that" puede utilizarse como sinónimo de "aquello que", con el sentido de "what"?

    Creo que está bien dicho decir "It's money that I want" or "Money is what I want"

    Is it right to say "Money is that I want"?
     
  2. Biffo Senior Member

    England
    English - England
    What is that you want?:cross:

    What is it that you want?:tick: [What is it - that you want?]

    What is what you want?:cross:



    "It's money that I want" :tick:

    "Money is what I want" :tick:

    "Money is that I want":cross:



    The most usual phrase is: What do you want? :tick:
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2013
  3. CuervoGold Senior Member

    Spain
    Spanish
    Thank you, Biffo! I came across this sentence - "What is that you want?"- on a website and if you type it in Google, it appears on thousands of websites!!! :eek:
     
  4. Biffo Senior Member

    England
    English - England
    The examples I found on Google looked like typing errors.

    If I use Google ngram, I get zero occurrences of what is that you want when I search British publications.
    http://books.google.com/ngrams/grap...00&year_end=2000&corpus=18&smoothing=3&share=

    If, on the other hand, I search US publications, I do get a very tiny number of occurrences. (0.0000000151% in the year 2000).
    http://books.google.com/ngrams/grap...00&year_end=2000&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=

    Let's see if any AE forum members can shed light on this. Is this really allowable in AE? I assumed it was a simple typing error.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2013
  5. Cenzontle

    Cenzontle Senior Member

    English, U.S.
    I'm embarrassed by the evidently inferior typing skills of my compatriots.
    But at least we don't violate good grammar by saying:cross:"What is that you want?"
     
  6. echinocereus Senior Member

    English United States
    Absolutely not, Biffo. "What is that you want" is not acceptable to AE speakers either. Adding an "it" makes it acceptable: "What is it that you want?" Yes, "What is what you want," meaning "What is that which you want," has all the necessary grammatical components, but I think it sounds a bit overdone. "What is it that you want" and, as you said, Biffo, the simple, clear "What do you want?" are preferable. Saludos. :)
     
  7. CuervoGold Senior Member

    Spain
    Spanish
    Thank you very much for your answers! If "What is that you want?" is not acceptable, as you all have said, what about these examples with other verbs?

    - What is that you've got written on your helmet? Full Metal Jacket movie
    - "What is that you express in your eyes? (Walt Whitman)
    - "What is that you say?" (Radiohead's song)


    I'm still confused because we translate all these sentences to Spanish as "lo que" (sentences with "it... that" and sentences only with "that")
    What is it that you want? --- ¿Qué es lo que quieres?
    What is that you've got written on your helmet? --- ¿Qué es lo que has escrito en tu casco?
     
  8. Biffo Senior Member

    England
    English - England
    The problem is that "that" has many meanings.

    that (demonstrative pronoun) == eso

    that (subordinating conjunction) == 'que' or 'lo que'


    What is that you've got written on your helmet? ---> Que es eso..
    What is it that you've got written on your helmet? ---> Que es lo que...
     
  9. CuervoGold Senior Member

    Spain
    Spanish
    So, if "What is that you've got written on your helmet?" is ok, why doesn't it make sense to say "What is that (which) you want?" ?
     
  10. Biffo Senior Member

    England
    English - England
    You cannot say it because "What is that you want?" means "¿Qué es eso quieres?", which I don't think is possible in Spanish either.
     
  11. SevenDays Senior Member

    Spanish
    Those examples don't come from grammar books; they come from actual usage, where people, for various reasons, leave words out, words which are understood from context. Speech is often informal, relaxed, and poetry often breaks grammatical rules for effect. And so while a grammarian might require "that thing" or "which" (what is that thing that you've written on your helmet?; what is that which you express in your eyes?), the screenwriter and the poet would just as well leave them out. What is that you say? is interesting. Again, a grammarian might add "which" (what is that which you say?), but the songwriter would leave it out, probably because he feels that people just don't talk that way. But if Radiohead had said, what is that, you say? (with a comma), then that would be ok with the grammarian, because the comma divides the sentence in two parts. In "what is that you say?, the singer is asking a direct question of someone else; in what is that, you say?, the singer is addressing himself. Let's go back to what is that you want? and try this approach. The problem here is that this "that" is not a relative pronoun, so it can't go with "you want." "That" here functions as a subject complement, and it goes with "what is:" [what is that] [you want?]. One way to fix it: add a relative pronoun("which") to go with "you want:" [what is that] [which you want?]. The other solution is to add a different subject complement ("it") so that "that" can be a relative pronoun: [what is it] [that you want?]
    Cheers
     
  12. echinocereus Senior Member

    English United States
    SevenDays, I believe that CuervoGold's examples do come from actual usage. The sentences are out of context, but I think that any English speaker would read or hear each of the uses of "that" as a word with the intent, feeling, meaning of demonstrative "that," your "eso" in Spanish. The sentences mean to us English speakers: "What is that (thing which) you've got written on your helmet?" and "What is that (thing which) you express in your eyes?" and "What is that (thing which) you say?" I don't know whether there is a comfortable way to include "eso" in such a sentence in Spanish, but a literal interpretation of the English sentences would require it. Would it be acceptable to say "¿Qué es eso que tienes escrito en tu casco?" or "¿Qué es esa cosa que dices con los ojos?" Un saludo. :)
     
  13. k-in-sc

    k-in-sc Senior Member

    It's because "that which" can just be "that" when necessary.
     
  14. SevenDays Senior Member

    Spanish
    Hello
    Yes, that's what I tried to explain, that CuervoGold's examples come from actual usage (taken from a movie, a song, etc.), and not from a grammar book. A grammar book (granted, a rather strict one) might include what's been left out in those examples ("thing which") but in actual usage, it's idiomatic to leave them out (particularly when the relative pronoun functions as object inside the relative clause). ¿Qué es eso que tienes escrito en tu casco? and ¿Qué es esa cosa que dices con los ojos? are perfect. Notice that "eso" and "que" represent two distinct pronouns: demonstrative (eso) and relative (que), which means that neither can be omitted. You couldn't say, for example, ¿Qué es eso tienes escrito en tu casco? The english "that" is, of course, demonstrative as well as relative (one form, two meanings, depending on usage), and so we can drop one because such dual meaning is still embodied in the "that" left behind. What I mean is that a construction such as what is that that you've got written in your helmet? (with demonstrative "that" followed by relative "that") becomes what is that you've got written in your helmet?, where one "that" is dropped. The implication is that in "what is that you've got written in your helmet?", we can't tell if the "that" left in is technically speaking demonstrative or relative. In some grammars, however, this "that" is said to be "fused:" it is both demonstrative and relative.
    Cheers
     
  15. Mackinder

    Mackinder Senior Member

    Bogota
    Espagnol - Colombie
  16. echinocereus Senior Member

    English United States
    A note, SevenDays, In the first sentence of my post that you cite in your post #14 I had read your previous post and I was saying that I could well believe that CuervoGold’s examples do come from actual usage. A comment on the last line of your post #14: I think that the “that” which is left behind (when a speaker drops the relative “that) is the demonstrative “that” and not the relative “that.”

    Ginazec, I asked in my post #12 whether one might say in Spanish “Qué es eso que... “ If you are saying that such a construction can sound natural in Spanish, then I would answer you that your “Qué es eso que quieres?” is a literal translation of “What is that thing which you want?” Personally, I cannot imagine a situation in which I would choose to say in English: "What is that you want?"
     
  17. Mackinder

    Mackinder Senior Member

    Bogota
    Espagnol - Colombie
    Thank you very much! :)
     
  18. SevenDays Senior Member

    Spanish
    Ah, ok, got it; thanks,echinocereus. Now, here is something that's sort of bugging me (and just before I go to bed), and it is the question that CuervoGold posed in post #9. If (a) what is that you want? is unidiomatic, why is it that (b) what is that you've got written on your helmet? seems ok? (at least, I don't think anyone has objected to it). What I mean is, both have missing information, and we could add the same information (for example, "it") so that in both sentences "that" can function as a relative: what is it that you want? ~ what is it that you've got written on your helmet? And yet, without "it," (a) is objectionable, but (B) isn't. The first thought that comes to mind is that in "what is that you want?," the verb "want" is strongly transitive; it needs a direct object, but there's nothing to its right, the natural place for a direct object. As a result, "want" looks to "that" as its direct object, but "that" already functions as subject complement in what is that. By contrast, in "what is that you've got written on your helmet?, "written" is a participle, and while participles can be transitive (because participles are also verbs), they don't carry the full syntactic pull of lexical verbs. In other words, this "written" isn't strong enough transitively to demand a direct object (as "want" does in the other example), which leaves "that" intact, sort of speak, and so "what is that you've got written on your helmet?" becomes idiomatic. In any event, that's how things look at this late hour.
    Cheers
     
  19. k-in-sc

    k-in-sc Senior Member

    What is that you want? :cross:
    What is it you want? :tick: (refers to something unknown)
    What is that [thing] you've got on your helmet? :tick: (refers to something specific)
     
  20. echinocereus Senior Member

    English United States
    Good morning, SevenDays. I believe that the same thing that is bothering you is precisely what is bothering me. In CuervoGold’s post #7 he lists four sentences. The first one, “What is that you want?”, I find totally unacceptable. I try and try to think that sentence interpreting the “that” as a demonstrative pronoun and I cannot do it. I can do it with CuervoGold’s other three sentences. You know, those of us who love studying other languages, both the exciting activity of oral communication and the “nuts and bolts” part, the structure, what goes before what, what is acceptable and why, are frustrated when we run into inconsistency or what we see as inconsistency, but sometimes we will not be able to find an answer. The “why?” will elude us. Still, that makes language study no less a joy. It’s just always a challenge.

    By the way, SevenDays, are you absolutely sure that your native language is not English??? :)
     
  21. k-in-sc

    k-in-sc Senior Member

    I don't know whether to be more amazed at SevenDays' proficiency or more discouraged that even he very occasionally slips up, which means there is absolutely no hope for the rest of us :)
     
  22. Biffo Senior Member

    England
    English - England
    The phrase "What is that you want" is not, has never been and I hope never will be a correct English sentence. It has no meaning and therefore cannot be translated.
    If you find occurrences of it then they are errors, either due to mistyping or because the writer doesn't understand English.

    My advice is:

    (1) Don't use the phrase. No educated native speaker will find it acceptable (or even understandable).
    (2) Don't try to use the logic of Spanish to understand how to write correct English. They are different languages.
     
  23. kalamazoo Senior Member

    US, English
    These are different questions. If I say "What is that in your hand" or "what is that you have in your hand" I am asking what some specific object is, and the sentence can include an extra verb or not. But If I ask what is it that you want I am not asking for the name of a specific object; rather I am asking the question what do you want.
     
  24. CuervoGold Senior Member

    Spain
    Spanish
    Thank you all! You're the best! So, correct me if I'm wrong, please, but I have come to this conclusion about the structure of this sentences:

    - "What is it that you want?" Here we have "that" working as a relative, and "that you want" works as a relative clause which is related to "what", not to "it". Am I right?

    - "What is that (which) you have in your hand ? Here we have "that" working as a demonstrative pronoun and referring to something known by the speaker or something specific; we also have "which" working as an optional relative and, finally, "(which) you have in your hand" works as a relative clause that gives us additional information about "that", not "what". Is it ok?

    And my last question: what would be the answer of the second question, "what is that you have in your hand"? "That I have in my hand is...". It doesn't sound right.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2013
  25. kalamazoo Senior Member

    US, English
    It's just like the answer to "What is that"? YOu can say "it's a feather I picked up" or "it's the key to my back door."
     
  26. echinocereus Senior Member

    English United States
    Hi, CuervoGold, I’ll try to answer your questions.

    1) “What is it that you want?”
    Yes, “that” functions here as a relative pronoun, direct object of “want.”
    Yes, “that you want” is a relative or adjective clause.
    No, the antecedent of “that,” the word to which it refers, is not “what.” “That” refers to “it.” “It” is the antecedent of “that.”
    What” in this sentence is an interrogative pronoun and subject of “is.”

    2) “What is THAT you have in your hand?” Yes, “that,” when the speaker refers with some emphasis to something specific in the other person’s hand and the speaker may even point to that item, does have the intent of a demonstrative pronoun. “¿Qué es eso que tienes en la mano?” Note that in Spanish you would not drop the “que,” while English speakers have the option of dropping the “which.”

    “What is that which you have in your hand?” There is no special emphasis expressed in this sentence. “Which” is a relative pronoun, direct object of “have” and “that” is its antecedent. “¿Qué es lo que tienes en la mano?” No special emphasis in the Spanish sentence either.

    3) “What is THAT you have in your hand?” Possible answers: “I have a --- in my hand.” or “It’s a ---.” or even “What I have in my hand is a ---.” (In the last sentence “what” is not interrogative; it’s a “compound relative pronoun” and stands for “that which”.)

    I hope this helps, CuervoGold.

    Un saludo. :)

     
  27. SevenDays Senior Member

    Spanish
    Thank you for the earlier compliments, echinocereus and k. Heaven (or perhaps the Big Bang) knows that I make my share of mistakes, and that English is so my second language. By the time I got to "l" in "compl," I began to wonder, "wait; do I go with "e" (complement) or "i" (compliment); and I won't admit that initially I'd gone with "e." Thank God/Big Bang I have my dictionary nearby. And often, while searching for a specific word, I think, "how do we say that in English?, and when that fails, I turn to "how do we say that in Spanish;" and, when that fails too, well, there isn't anywhere else to go. Now, getting back on track, what's idiomatic (what is that you've got written on your helmet?) and what isn't (what is that you want?) isn't always explained by grammatical logic; which is of course frustrating if you are looking for an explanation. (And I agree with echinocereus' analysis.)
    Cheers
     
  28. Biffo Senior Member

    England
    English - England
    :thumbsup: All looking good to me except for one thing. I have never heard anyone say "What is that which you have in your hand?” It just isn't English - in fact it reminds me of my old French teacher trying to explain "Qu'est-ce que c'est que ça".

    Can I check, are you saying this is normal, correct English?

    ______________________________________________________________
    EDIT
    I can just about imagine an English speaker saying "What's that that you have in your hand?" but never 'that which'.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2013
  29. Mackinder

    Mackinder Senior Member

    Bogota
    Espagnol - Colombie
    Thank you :) That's what I what thinking :)
     
  30. echinocereus Senior Member

    English United States
    Hi, Biffo, I was trying to answer CuervoGold's questions in his post #24 in as careful and as organized a fashion as I could. By the time I got to the end, my post was pretty long and I didn't think to add the thought that CG's sentence "What is that which you have in your hand?" is not a likely or natural-sounding sentence in English although it is grammatically correct. Thanks for reminding me that I should have pointed that out. :)
     
  31. Biffo Senior Member

    England
    English - England
    :cool::thumbsup:
     
  32. juan2937 Senior Member

    Spanish
    You are correct. You can say: ¿qué es eso ( cosa) que tienes escrito en el casco?
    Qué es lo que dices? Qué dices?
    Qué cosa dices con los ojos?
     
  33. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    "What is it (that) you want?" (¿Qué es que quieres?), "What is that (that) you want?" (¿Qué es eso que quieres?), and "What is what you want?" (¿Qué/Cómo es lo que quieres?) are different questions. I find all three grammatical enough, assuming appropriate context, but they do not mean at all the same thing. By far the most common of these is the first.

    "Money is that I want" is not a valid way to say "Money is what I want", but it might have meaning in some context.
     
  34. juan2937 Senior Member

    Spanish
    May I correct the sentence ¿Qué es lo que quieres? en español, It could be a print error.
     
  35. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    Gracias. Parece que la distinción que existe en inglés se pierde en español.

    ¿Es posible así:

    ¿Qué cosa es que quieres?

    o debe de ser "¿Qué cosa es la que quieres?"?
     
  36. CuervoGold Senior Member

    Spain
    Spanish
    Thank you very much, Echinocereus (and the rest of you, of course :))

    "It's money that I want" From my point of view, I think that the antecedent of "that I want" is "money" (the subject complement) and "it" is the subject in this case. That's why I thought that "what" was also the antecedent in the question sentence and also a subject complement, as well as "it" the subject.

    I think I have a HUGE problem to understand the structure of "what questions" because they change their structure when people speak using indirect questions.
    For example, and according to grammarians: "What (subject) is your name (subject complement)?"

    But if we put it in indirect style: "I don't know what (subject complement) your name (subject) is"

    So, why do grammarians say that "what" is the subject in the direct question, if it's not in the indirect one?

    And what about other verb tenses with "be", like "What (subject complement) will your answer (inverted subject) be? Why doesn't it follow the grammarians vision of "what" subject? Or is it "What will be your answer? (this is not ok, isn't it)


    :( I hate this "what" sentences!!!! I don't understand them!
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2013
  37. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    Yes, the that clause is a relative clause belonging to "it", not to "what", but what is not the subject of is. The subject of is is it, together with that you want.
    Don't feel bad about what sentences. We natives use them but tend to get tangled up trying to explain them.

    You have correctly analyzed "I don't know what your name is" and "What will your answer be?". Your other question is also correct: "What (subject) will be your answer (subject complement)?".

    The issue with the direct question "What is your name?" is that it has two possible interpretations. Either what or your name might be the subject.

    The usual interpretation is that your name is the subject and what the complement, and the correct form of the indirect sentence is "I don't know what your name is." The answer then would be something like "(My name is) John."

    Alternatively, we could interpret the direct question with what as the subject, which cannot invert with the verb since, as an interrogative, it has to come first. Then your name would be the complement, the correct form of the indirect question would be "I don't know what is your name", and the answer would be something like "John (is my name)."
    "It's money that I want" also has two possible interpretations, again with one being more usual than the other.

    One interpretation needs context to give it a meaning outside of the sentence itself. For example, if I see something sticking out of a purse but I don't know what that something is, I might ask you, and you might say "It's money that I want." Here it would be referring to the something in question. It would be the whole subject, and the complement would be "money that I want."

    But the usual interpretation takes "It's money that I want" as a cleft sentence, a special type of sentence that includes a question preceded by its answer. The subject of a cleft sentence is always "it", referring to what is in question, the main verb is always third person singular, the answer intervenes after the verb, and the rest of the subject follows as a relative clause beginning with the relative pronoun that, which is often omitted. The it and the (optional) relative clause together act as a sort of rhetorical interrogative subject.

    It might help to look at cleft sentences based on questions with interrogative adverbs rather than interrogative pronouns. For example "It is in Paris that we met" and "It is in giving that we receive." Compare:

    A1. Where did we meet? In Paris.
    A2. Where we met is in Paris.
    A3. It is in Paris (that) we met.
    A4. Where is it (that) we met? In Paris.

    B1. How do we receive? In giving.
    B2. The way (or how) we receive is in giving.
    B3. It is in giving (that) we receive.
    B4. How is it (that) we receive? In giving.

    C1. What do you want? Money.
    C2. What I want is money.
    C3. It is money (that) I want.
    C4. What is it (that) you want? Money.

    As can be seen in these examples, it and that together play the role of "where?" in A3, "how?" in B3, and "what?" in C3. Part of the subject is it, and the rest of the subject is the relative clause. The complement is "in Paris" in A2 and A3, "in giving" in B2 and B3, "money" in C2 and C3.

    It does not do to replace it that with an interrogative:

    A5. Where is where we met?:cross:
    B5. How is how we receive?:cross:
    C5. What is what you want?:cross:

    (Actually A5 and C5 can perhaps have meaning, but not the intended meaning. For example, A5 might mean "Where is Paris?" and C5 could conceivably mean "What is money?".)

    Spanish word order allows the subject to be last, so the interrogative clause becomes a relative clause as postposed subject, and there is no it:

    Es en París en donde nos encontramos.
    Es por medio de la donación como recibimos.
    Es el dinero lo que yo quiero.

    (Como siempre, corríjanme el español.)
     
  38. juan2937 Senior Member

    Spanish
    Qué es lo que quieres= It is a neutre pronoun and refers to 'cosa'
    Qué cosa es la que quieres (redundant) or better ¿qué cosa quieres tú?
     
  39. CuervoGold Senior Member

    Spain
    Spanish
    Again, thank you all!!
     
  40. chajadan Senior Member

    I find the original sentence acceptable in speech, in that I would feel no need to correct it. Sure, it's not exactly a structure you aim for, or that you'd use in a school paper, but if a kid went up to a parent and said, "I know I've asked you for a lot lately, but I need one more thing that's really important.", I could see the parent saying "What is ~that~, you want." Consider the "you want" an afterthought, so it's like saying "What is that, that you want." and omitting the second that. My mom dislikes two that's in a row. I bring this up because people discard structures as in no way a part of their own language, but people say ungrammatical things all the time that we don't even bother to register is such institutional terms, we fully understand and just allow it without comment. The original sentence, to me, seems like an utterance I would ~expect~ to run into once in awhile, albeit rarely. I live in California, for what it's worth. If I were going to translate one use of the original into Spanish, I might say "¿Que es, que quieres?"

    --charlie
     
  41. Biffo Senior Member

    England
    English - England
    I simply can't see it myself - maybe it's just your Mom :D. I think a more likely question in that context would be "What is it that you want.
     
  42. kalamazoo Senior Member

    US, English
    I live in California too, and if someone said that, I would think it was weird and they were misspeaking or confused somehow. Or a non-native speaker.
     
  43. Biffo Senior Member

    England
    English - England
    :thumbsup:
     
  44. chajadan Senior Member

    Biffo and kalamazoo, just answer me one question: do you ever hear people sometimes say ungrammatical things and barely notice that it's occurred? If your answer isn't literally yes, then you don't seem human to me, but if you say no, that's fairly normal. Language isn't math, never was, and it evolves because we don't just stick to constant rules. The primary point of language is to be understood, so if someone said some intonational variant of "What is that you want?" I would highly suspect you'd be able to incorporate the utterance with nair a hiccup. But, seeing as we accept such things regularly without mentally noting them as true aberrations, in that they still function as communicative language, we also are less likely to state later that we accept technically malformed language, is all I'm saying.

    --charlie (who studied linguistics at UC Berkeley and is, if you can't tell, a descriptavist)
     
  45. kalamazoo Senior Member

    US, English
    There are different kinds of ungrammatical things that people say. Non-native speakers might say ungrammatical things that a native speaker would never say . Native speakers may use non-standard grammar in speech but only certain kinds of non-standard grammar. If I hear someone say "My friend buy house" I would be surprised. As to "what is that you want' to mean 'what do you want' or 'what is it that you want', I would also be surprised. It would seem peculiar to me and not the type of thing I would expect a native speaker to say. Whereas even something like "Would you bring the chair that it's leg is broken" wouldn't seem astonishing.
     
  46. chajadan Senior Member

    Well I for one can accept it easily. It's just like saying "What is that?" and then appending an after though, like saying "What is that, that you want", but murmurring out the second that, and I think most people would accept it if it was thrown in naturally enough.
     
  47. Biffo Senior Member

    England
    English - England
    Well you may accept it but have you honestly ever heard anyone say it? I certainly haven't. Can you even give a plausible context for it?

    Example
    A parent and child in a supermarket

    Child: What is that?
    Parent: That is a cauliflower.
    Child: What is that?
    Parent: It's a banana.
    etc.

    The above is a plausible conversation but I can't see how the child could add "you want" to any of those questions.


    Please can you give a conversation where your phrase would work? Thank you.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2013
  48. chajadan Senior Member

    I already did, in my first post, post #40. Is it really such a big stretch to imagine that native English speakers could accept a demonstrative pronoun in any place "it" would be accepted?
     
  49. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    I don't think the sentence is well used, but I am sure I have heard it somewhere. The only meaning I see for it is "What is that (thing that) you want?", where "that" is maybe a little ambiguous:

    A. I want something I just can't have.
    B. What is that?
    A. What?
    B. What you can't have. What is that you want?

    Yes, I would probably still say it here rather than that, but that is certainly grammatical and possible.
    It is hard to imagine what you might want but can't have.:tick:
    That is hard to imagine what you might want but can't have.:cross:
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2013
  50. chajadan Senior Member

    First, I asked if it with such a stretch without an example on purpose, to highlight the similar roles it and that play. The difference between "it's fun" and "that's fun" can become negligible.

    Second, the form you red X'd seems like it might get said to me, just imagine an original though of "That is hard to imagine", said and followed with an explanatory afterthought.

    I only brought up the whole idea of what native speakers might hear and accept because foreign learner's are often taught by natives that such and such is unacceptable, just for them to run into it anyway. Likely how this thread started anyway.

    --charlie
     

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