he fell into such a rage the boy had never seen before

Arkeologia

Senior Member
Italian
Hi!
I came across the following sentence while doing an exercise about the use of relative pronouns:

When he saw what had happened, he fell into such a rage X/that the boy had never seen before.

I would choose the "x" option and say:

When he saw what had happened, he fell into such a rage the boy had never seen before.

As this is a defining relative clause, the option with "that" should be right as well, but the exercise says only one is right. In fact, that sentence doesn't sound all right with "that" after "such a rage", does it?

My problem is that I can't see how the rule is here applied.

Thank you for your help

A.
 
  • boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Yes, inserting 'that' here would simply lead to confusion. 'That' is used after 'such' has a different meaning, e.g.

    He is such a bore that I can't listen to him for more than 2 seconds.

    Obviously, in your exercise this cannot work as the whole sentence becomes completely nonsensical.

    I suspect the part of your exercise that should be inferred is 'the like of which', i.e.

    He fell into a rage the like of which the boy had never seen before.
    I am still not sure whether adding 'such a' here is a very good idea. :confused: Maybe others will tell you.
     

    Arkeologia

    Senior Member
    Italian
    @london calling: It's a story about a boy who lives with stepparents who don't love him.
    In the text there are a lot of relative pronouns and you have to choose one of the two options (in bold type).
    For this sentence you have to choose between "that" or "no pronoun".

    Boozer, I think you're near the point, but as you said, something is not clear ...

    In the meanwhile ... thanks!

    PS.: Might there be a mistake in a grammar book?!:eek:
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    @london calling: It's a story about a boy who lives with stepparents who don't love him.
    In the text there are a lot of relative pronouns and you have to choose one of the two options (in bold type).
    For this sentence you have to choose between "that" or "no pronoun".
    When he saw what had happened, he fell into such a rage that the boy had never seen before.

    This is correct, but very dated. I really cannot imagine anyone saying it this way in this day and age.
     

    Arkeologia

    Senior Member
    Italian
    It's a fairy tale from the brothers Grimm. That's why it sounds outdated.
    Anyway, you say it's right with "that" ... I would have chosen the other option, the one without any relative pronoun.
    Thank you
     
    Last edited:

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    When he saw what had happened, he fell into such a rage that the boy had never seen before.

    This is correct, but very dated. I really cannot imagine anyone saying it this way in this day and age.
    Did you find any examples, london? Personally I can't imagine anyone saying it that way ever, but I'm very willing to be proved wrong. "Such a rage as the boy had never seen before" sounds O.K. to me, for something written before about 1920.
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Did you find any examples, london? Personally I can't imagine anyone saying it that way ever, but I'm very willing to be proved wrong. "Such a rage as the boy had never seen before" sounds O.K. to me, for something written before about 1920.
    I would also have used 'as', but it was not an option in this exercise.:)

    I have certainly come across the that construction, which is obviously even more dated. I wonder if it's a throw-back to Latin/French, but don't quote me on that, because I'm no expert on philology, by any means.:)
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    He fell into a rage far more violent than he had ever seen before.
    He fell into a rage far more terrifying than he had ever seen before.
    etc.
    Not sure about that.;)

    I read the sentence as meaning that someone (the stepfather) fell into a rage which was far more violent than the boy (the stepson) had ever seen before.:)
     
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