refused <despite / although> what he acknowledged…

ronniekobe

Member
Chinese
Hi there,
Should it be "although/though" in the sentence rather than "despite" as shown in the picture attached.
Thank you in advance

From The New York Times.
The day after protests shook the capital of Puerto Rico, Gov. Ricardo Rossello refused to step down despite what he acknowledged was widespread public discontent.
< Post edited to copy topic sentence into the post itself. Cagey, moderator >
 

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  • RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    You could use "although", but it would weaken the sentence and would also require rewriting what comes after it.
     

    ronniekobe

    Member
    Chinese
    To my knowledge,
    "despite" is a preposition, which is followed by nouns or gerunds, but here "despite" is followed by a sentence S(what he acknowledged)+V (was...).
    This really confuses me, so I thought "although" would be a correct word to use since it is a conjunction.
    Hoping that you could help me clear up my confusion. Thank you!
     

    Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    Think of "he acknowledged" as if it were in parentheses; picture the sentence without it.
    Imagine the sentence ending with "despite what was clearly widespread public discontent",
    or even "despite what was happening."
    In these sentences, "what" = "that which".
    "That which was happening", "that which was a sign of discontent"—
    these are clauses that can act in any function that a noun can: subject, object of a preposition, etc.
     

    ronniekobe

    Member
    Chinese
    Thank you, Cenzontle
    I considered "what he acknowledged" to be a noun clause used as a subject here.
    So, is this sentence OK if we think of "he did" as if it were in parentheses?
    I hate what he did was cruel to animals.
    Many thanks!
     

    Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    No.
    "The governor acknowledged that something was (equivalent to) widespread discontent.":tick:
    "The governor did that something was cruel to animals.":cross:
    The verb "acknowledge" can take a that-clause as its object, but the verb "do" cannot.
     

    Shooting Stars

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I was wondering if I can say "... despite what he acknowledged widespread public discontent. "(without the verb "was"). In this sentence, "widespread public discontent" acts as the apposition of "what he acknowledged".
    Thank you.
     

    ronniekobe

    Member
    Chinese
    No.
    "The governor acknowledged that something was (equivalent to) widespread discontent.":tick:
    "The governor did that something was cruel to animals.":cross:
    The verb "acknowledge" can take a that-clause as its object, but the verb "do" cannot.
    Now I see. Really thank you for your reply! Truly helpful~
     
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