Relative clause with question in it

jay2108

Member
Mandarin
Hi everyone

I ran into a problem with expression in English the other day when a colleague provided me with some data I needed for my work but i didn't know where in the chart should these data go, so I think people would say this in simple sentences like: "A colleague has given me some data but I don't know where i should put them in the chart." but I want to express in/(with?) a relative clause: "A colleague has given me some data which I don't know should go to where/which section of the chart", but obviously this is not correct expression, or maybe "A colleague has given me some data which I don't know where/which section they should go", obviously still incorrect, I'm a little confused about the correct expression in this situation where there is a combination of relative clause and a question in the clause, please help
 
  • VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Technically, these must be correct:

    A colleague has given me some data, which I don't know where I should put in the chart.

    A colleague has given me some data which I don't know where should go.


    I mean, if you use the relative pronoun 'which', you don't use personal pronouns at the same time.

    A colleague has given me some data which I don't know which section should go.:confused: problematic
     

    jay2108

    Member
    Mandarin
    Technically, these must be correct:

    A colleague has given me some data, which I don't know where I should put in the chart.

    A colleague has given me some data which I don't know where should go.


    I mean, if you use the relative pronoun 'which', you don't use personal pronouns at the same time.

    A colleague has given me some data which I don't know which section should go.:confused: problematic
    Thank you for your good and clear example sentences VicNicSor !
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    "A colleague has given me some data but I don't know where i should put them in the chart."
    "A colleague has given me some data whose position in the chart I do not know.”

    Two points,
    1. All the responses in #2 have errors.
    2. Your original example is perfectly clear.
     

    KHS

    Senior Member
    It's hard to construct a good, clear sentence using a relative clause along with all the other elements you want. The closest I could come is "I don't know where in the chart I should put the data which a colleague gave me."
     

    jay2108

    Member
    Mandarin
    It's hard to construct a good, clear sentence using a relative clause along with all the other elements you want. The closest I could come is "I don't know where in the chart I should put the data which a colleague gave me."
    Which means it's not possible in this case to replace this simple sentence with a relative clause?
     

    jay2108

    Member
    Mandarin
    "A colleague has given me some data whose position in the chart I do not know.”

    Two points,
    1. All the responses in #2 have errors.
    2. Your original example is perfectly clear.
    Yeah I want to find out what errors these responses have too...
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    sounds overly complicated if you just stick it in the way you did
    Yes, but still grammatically correct, right? (for example, the way they were rephrased in #2):

    A colleague has given me some data, which I don't know where I should put in the chart.

    A colleague has given me some data which I don't know where should go.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    No, you can't make those relative clauses at all. There is a thing called the wh-island constraint. A clause beginning with a wh-word creates an 'island'. Nothing can be extracted from inside it. A relative clause would require extracting an internal element as another wh-word and bringing it across the other one:

    A colleague has give me some data. I don't know where the data should go.
    :cross:A colleague has give me some data which I don't know where ___ should go.
     

    KHS

    Senior Member
    Yes, but still grammatically correct, right? (for example, the way they were rephrased in #2):

    A colleague has given me some data, which I don't know where I should put in the chart.

    A colleague has given me some data which I don't know where should go.
    The problem is that you are replacing a pronoun from the lower (second) clause, and using it as a relative pronoun for the first clause. This really doesn't work well in English.

    In other words: A colleague has given me some data. I don't know something. Where should it go?

    You are trying to change "I don't know [something]." into an adjective clause, but then replacing the pronoun 'it' in "Where should it go?" (which becomes a NOUN clause) and moving that pronoun to the beginning of the first clause.

    I'm not sure if that makes sense to you. I've been slowly figuring out why it doesn't sound right.
     

    jay2108

    Member
    Mandarin
    The problem is that you are replacing a pronoun from the lower (second) clause, and using it as a relative pronoun for the first clause. This really doesn't work well in English.

    In other words: A colleague has given me some data. I don't know something. Where should it go?

    You are trying to change "I don't know [something]." into an adjective clause, but then replacing the pronoun 'it' in "Where should it go?" (which becomes a NOUN clause) and moving that pronoun to the beginning of the first clause.

    I'm not sure if that makes sense to you. I've been slowly figuring out why it doesn't sound right.
    I assume the second clause refers to the "where" clause while the first clause refers to the "which" relative clause? meaning I don't know something, the "something" can't be a question/clause in this case right? therefore to avoid this situation we better not combine a relative clause with another whatever question or clause, is that right ?
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Which means it's not possible in this case to replace this simple sentence with a relative clause?
    You cannot replace any sentence with a clause.
    There is a relative clause in "A colleague has given me some data whose position in the chart I do not know.
     
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