in what it hopes will become...

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qqbabe

New Member
Chinese
I found the following sentences from a website:

1. China launched a major Mars mission in what it hopes will become its first successful landing on the Red Planet. (CNBC)
2. Fujitsu Ltd. said it will cut its office space in Japan by 50% over the next three years, encouraging 80,000 office workers to primarily work from home in what it termed a “Work Life Shift for the new normal.” (Bloomberg)
3. Ecuador is one of the poorest countries in South America and the only one that uses the dollar as its official currency, limiting it in what it can do to tackle its financial problems. (The Financial Times)

What does "in what" stand for ? Why do we use the preposition "in" here? Can any other prepostions replace "in" here?
And I heard that "in an attempt to" and "in a bid to " are similar to "in what+verb" structure?
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It isn’t “in what”. The addition to the statement is the part in red below, which can be adapted as appropriate to each context:

    in (or any other preposition) [something]
    or
    in what is known as/called/considered/expected to be (etc.) something
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    In all those examples, "in" is just an ordinary preposition. It is not paired with "what". "What" is a special kind of relative pronoun that functions as its own antecedent; you could think of it as "something that" or "that which".

    In (1) we can first read this as: China launched a major Mars mission in its first successful landing on the Red Planet.
    except that (a) the successful landing hasn't happened yet, so "what it hopes will become" is inserted, and (b) the true object of the preposition "in" is not the hoped-for successful landing, but the report or story about it. Example (2) is similar. Example (3) is slightly different in that this time "what it can do" is the real object of "in". Think of "limiting it in what it can do" as "which limits what it can do".
     

    billj

    Senior Member
    British English
    China launched a major Mars mission in what it hopes will become its first successful landing on the Red Planet.

    The underlined element is a noun phrase in a 'fused' relative construction functioning as object of the preposition "in".

    The 'fusion' means that the single word "what" is both antecedent and head of the noun phrase. They are fused together instead of being expressed separately as in a simpler construction. Internally, "what" functions as subject of "will become ...".

    The meaning is like that of the non-fused (and more formal)

    China launched a major Mars mission in that which it hopes will become its first successful landing on the Red Planet.
     
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