fused relative

  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I wonder if a sentence like:

    "what he did to me was wrong" would be a fused relative?
    Hi Tchimpol, and welcome to the forums.

    Yes, "what" in this sentence is a "fused relative".

    For those who are not familiar with this terminology, here is Wiki's description of a "fused or nominal relative clause":
    a relative clause that does not modify an external noun phrase, and instead has a nominal function fused into it. For example:
    What he did is clearly impossible, but I saw him do it.
    Here, what he did has the sense of that which he did, i.e. the thing that he did, and functions as the subject of the verb is.
     
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    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Perhaps it would have been better to use the sentence given in the original post.

    1) The original sentence without a "fused relative":
    The thing that he did to me was wrong.
    Here, the clause "that he did to me" modifies "thing". It functions as an adjective.

    2) The example sentence with a "fused relative":
    What he did to me was wrong.
    Here one word, "what", stands for "the thing" and "that"; "what" is a "fused relative". The clause "What he did to me" is the subject of "was [wrong]". It has a "nominal function" (acts as the subject of the sentence) and is a fused or nominal relative clause.

    I hope that this was helpful to someone.
     
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