What/what that/ that what

Discussion in 'English Only' started by germanictamoon, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. germanictamoon Senior Member

    India, West Uttar Pradesh
    Hindi (West Uttar Pradesh)
    Hi all,
    there is a sentence:
    What has been taught from September to December will be used for setting the examination papers.
    I want to know if the following two sentences could also be used to express the above sentence.

    1. What that has been taught from September to December will be used for setting the examination papers.

    2. That what has been taught from September to December will be used for setting the examination papers.

    I want to know if the above two sentences sound idiomatic to native speakers and express the same meaning as the original one.

    (Actually the underlying question is:
    1. Can 'what' function as antecedent?
    2. can 'what' in a free relative clause take an antecedent like a normal relative pronoun?)
     
  2. rhitagawr

    rhitagawr Senior Member

    Wales
    British English
    What that and that what are both incorrect. And even in your first sentence, I'd much prefer Whatever has been...
    You could say I don't know what's been taught in response to the question What's been taught?
    Could you give us some sentences illustrating how you think what might be used as an antecedent and in a free relative clause?
    What is not a relative pronoun. (It's true you sometimes hear something like He's the man what stole my money. But this is very bad English. I wouldn't give a job to anyone who said it.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  3. germanictamoon Senior Member

    India, West Uttar Pradesh
    Hindi (West Uttar Pradesh)
    Actually I read the following sentence which got me thinking the above question i.e. could 'what' function as an antecedent for a relative pronoun?
    'I always wonder what anyone could see that is abominable in such a well written book.'
     
  4. rhitagawr

    rhitagawr Senior Member

    Wales
    British English
    I'd say the what is an interrogative pronoun in your sentence: What could anyone see...? I always wonder what anyone could see...
    I'd say that the what is a noun, or at least functions as a noun, in my sentence: ...sentences illustrating how the word 'what' might be used...It would have been clearer if I'd put my what in quotes.
    What can introduce a noun clause:
    1) Give him what he wants.
    2) What you need is a stiff drink.
    3) From what he said, it's a long way to Glasgow.
    4) My opinion, for what it's worth, is that we should stay at home - the speaker thinks his opinion probably isn't worth very much.
    In these sentences, what means something like the thing(s) which, i.e. noun+relative pronoun.
    Don't forget whatever. E.g.
    5) Give him whatever he wants - there's potentially no limit to what he wants, unlike (1).
    6) Whatever [no matter what] I did, my teachers were never satisfied.
    7) What(ever) knowledge he has comes from years of study.
    You can have a what-clause in apposition to it:
    8) It doesn't matter what I say, he never believes me.
    What can be followed by an infinitive:
    9) I'm not sure what to do.
    10) I'm not sure what we're doing for Christmas.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013

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