Relative Adverbs --- When, That

HSS

Senior Member
Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
I've been reading related threads the whole day today, but I still don't seem to understand. Hence, I decided to upload this question:

Could anyone please tell me when you could substitute 'that' for the time relative adverb 'when,' and when you could omit the 'that'? I tried to come up with a rule, thinking numerous examples, to no avail.

(Examples)
[1] It was snowy on the evening when/that/(omitted 'that') I went out with her for the first time.
[2] During the month when/that/(omitted 'that') I was in L.A., she often invited me to her home for dinner.
[3] For the four months when/that/(omitted 'that') I was in jail, I really thought about myself.

There are a lot of other patterns.
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    You can use "that" in all your sentences. I'm not sure that any of these substitutions is an improvement over "when", though.
    It was snowy on the evening that I went out with her for the first time.
    During the month that I was in L.A., she often invited me to her home for dinner.
    For the four months that I was in jail, I really thought about myself.
     

    HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    Thanks, Owlman.

    Can anyone please expose me to other examples using 'that' as a time relative adverb, or using an omitted time adverb 'that'? I've read and heard, and even used it myself a lot of times, but somehow my mind covets seeing credible examples for more clarification. Thanks.

    Hiro
     
    Last edited:

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Thanks, Owlman.

    Can anyone please expose me to other examples using 'that' as a time relative adverb, or using an omitted time adverb 'that'? I've read and heard, and even used it myself a lot of times, but somehow my mind covets seeing credible examples for more clarification. Thanks.

    Hiro
    Hello, Hiro. You should be able to get quite a few examples for study by typing "that as a relative pronoun" in any good search engine. Here's one link for you: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/645/01/

    If doing this doesn't help enough, you can always try looking for examples of "that" used as a relative pronoun in different texts in English. Almost any good newspaper would be a good place to start.
     

    LQZ

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Thanks, Owlman.

    Can anyone please expose me to other examples using 'that' as a time relative adverb, or using an omitted time adverb 'that'? I've read and heard, and even used it myself a lot of times, but somehow my mind covets seeing credible examples for more clarification. Thanks.

    Hiro
    Hi, HSS, :)

    when is used to modify a certain time, while that is used to refer to an uncertain time. For instance,

    Last Monday when we met, she gave me her number.
    For the four months that I was in jail, I really thought about myself.

    Make sense now?
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    In each of the three sentences, the when clause modifies a noun and is equivalent to a preposition plus which:

    [1] It was snowy on the evening when (= on which) I went out with her for the first time.
    [2] During the month when (= in which) I was in L.A., she often invited me to her home for dinner.
    [3] For the four months when (during which) I was in jail, I really thought about myself.

    In such sentences, when can be omitted, or that can substitute for the preposition plus which.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    In this sentence, when means "the day (on which)" and is not equivalent to just a preposition plus which:

    Last Monday when (= , the day) we met, she gave me her number.

    This when clause is in apposition to Last Monday, and does not modify it. Some more examples:

    When
    (= During the time) I was in jail those four months, I really thought about myself.

    Those four months, when
    (= the time) I was in jail, I really though about myself.

    The last Monday (when/on which/that) we met, she gave me her number.

    Those four months
    (when/in which/that) I was in jail, I really thought about myself.

    That same evening, when
    (= (at) the time) I went out with her for the first time, it snowed.

    When
    (= The time) I was in L.A. one month, she often invited me to her home for dinner.
     

    LQZ

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Last Monday when (= , the day) we met, she gave me her number.

    This when clause is in apposition to Last Monday, and does not modify it.
    :)Hi, Forero,

    My grammar book states when we met is a relatvie clause. By the way, most appositive clause starts with that which can't be omitted.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    When we met is a relative clause, because when is a relative adverb. But what function does the when clause serve in the whole sentence?

    Actually the sentence is ambiguous and when might be omitted:

    Last Monday when we met, she gave me her number.

    Possible meanings:

    • Last Monday, the day we met, she gave me her number. [apposition: last Monday was the day we met.]
    • Last Monday at the hour(s) we met, she gave me her number. [specifies what time(s) on Monday]
    • (The) last Monday on which we met, she gave me her number. [specifies which Monday]
    With this last meaning, when is equivalent to "on which" and it can be omitted:

    Last Monday we met, she gave me her number.

     

    Vega003

    Senior Member
    Spanish (Spain)
    Apparently when can be replaced by 'that' in all relative clauses (without commas). That's the theory.
    However, it doesn´t sound alright to me in this one:
    My parents graduated at a time when / that a degree guaranteed you a decent job.
    Is it okay with that??
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    Apparently when can be replaced by 'that' in all relative clauses (without commas). That's the theory.
    However, it doesn´t sound alright to me in this one:
    My parents graduated at a time when / that a degree guaranteed you a decent job.
    Is it okay with that??
    No, not in this case. This "at a time" means "during an era". Notice the indefinite article.
     

    Englishmypassion

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi
    Hi, Forero,
    I assume you have misplaced the comma in brackets. It must come after "Monday" to introduce an appositive/non-restrictive clause.
    As "Last Monday" is not being defined in the sentence, we don't need any article before it. But in another example quoted below, we need the definite article because we are specifying/defining which last Monday. Agreed so far. But your post #9 seems a little contradictory to your post #7.

    Last Monday when (= , the day) we met, she gave me her number.

    This when clause is in apposition to Last Monday, and does not modify it. Some more examples:
    ...
    The last Monday (when/on which/that) we met, she gave me her number.
     

    Englishmypassion

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi
    Actually the sentence is ambiguous and when might be omitted:
    Last Monday when we met, she gave me her number.
    Possible meanings:
    Last Monday, the day we met, she gave me her number. [apposition: last Monday was the day we met.] No, for this meaning, you need a comma after "Monday" as well.
    • Last Monday at the hour(s) we met, she gave me her number. [specifies what time(s) on Monday] I would take it to mean this only.
    • (The) last Monday on which we met, she gave me her number. [specifies which Monday] For this meaning, the definite article is required at the beginning of the sentence in question, according to your own post #7. Plus, why do you again contradict your post #7 by making the bracketed definite article (highlighted in blue) optional?
    With this last meaning, when is equivalent to "on which" and it can be omitted:

    Last Monday we met, she gave me her number. Again, even when we omit the relative adverb/conjunction, we retain the definite article before the noun modified/specified. So why not here?
    Thanks a lot.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    I'm afraid I haven't worked out the "rules" on this yet. So far, I have just been giving my impressions based on examples.

    I contradicted myself because I noticed that the sentence I had said had a particular meaning was ambiguous, having (at least) three possible meanings.

    For me the when clause can be in apposition to "last Monday" even without the comma. I know this is confusing, since we try to include commas around appositives, but there are exceptions, and this might be one of them.

    Consider something like "My Aunt Judy has false teeth" compared with "My Aunt, Judy, has false teeth." The version with the commas works best if I have only one aunt, the one named Judy; but I call this aunt "Aunt Judy", with no comma. Inasmuch as that is her "name", I can leave out the commas even if she is my only aunt. Is it important to the sentence whether I have other aunts?

    Is it important to the sentence that there is only one "last Monday"?

    Similarly "last Monday when we met" seems to play two roles at once, like the first and last names, used together, of a person whose first name and last name are each unique to that person.

    Notice that "last Monday (when) we met" is used as an adverb, despite having the structure of a noun phrase. The meaning can be the same as if it had "on the" in front, but neither the "on" nor the "the" is necessary and it is better without the "when".

    Including when allows the when clause to act either as an appositive or as an adverb, but omitting when makes clear that the when clause is meant to modify the noun Monday within the noun phrase that, as a whole, acts adverbially.

    I hope this makes sense.
     
    Last edited:

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    How about:

    A: I told you that she had my number when I phoned you last Monday.
    B: No. You told me last Monday when we met that she had my number. -> when we met -> adverbial phrase -> at the time that.
    A: Last Monday, when we met, you did not mention anything about her number. -> , when we met, in apposition to Monday.
     
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