But with what I gave up to get it was bittersweet

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Senior Member
Eminem's The Monster says in part:
But with what I gave up to get it was bittersweet
Here, he raps about "sacrificing his own personal privacy in order to become famous, a thing he sometimes regrets doing."
(The quoted portion is from here. )

Which of the following shows the correct understanding of the sentence structure?

(1) But with what I gave up to get, it was bittersweet
(2) But with what I gave up to get it, (it) was bittersweet

If (1) is right, then the phrasal verb gave up has no object and what, being the object of the verb get, refers to the fame, and it means the whole situation that he is in and is the same as the second it of (2) in parentheses.

If (2) is right, my analysis is as follows.
Apparently, he gave up his privacy to get the fame.
So the meaning dictates that what, being the object of the phrasal verb gave up, refers to his privacy, and that it refers to the fame. In this case, the clause (it) was bittersweet has its subject omitted and the omitted subject (it) refers to the whole situation.

I'm leaning towards (2) but I'd like to know what native speakers think.
Last edited:
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Grammatically correct? Yes.
    What Eminem wrote? I don't know.
    What he intended? Yes.


    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    There are no grammatical or other rules for poems or for songs. The writers may used whatever words or structures they like for rhyme, rhythm, or emotional effect.
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