that or why?


Senior Member
Hi, friends,
In the following sentence, it seems both that and why are correctly used here. But my friend said that is not acceptable here because there are the words "just about" in the clause. Do you think so? Thank you in advance.

It's no secret that/why maths can be a challenging subect for just about anyone to master.
  • Istarion

    Senior Member
    British English
    "That" is correct, for both grammar and meaning.

    If you did have a sentence where the meaning was that the reason for something was no secret, you might find that "It's no secret why..." was understood, but it's not grammatically acceptable.



    English UK
    Here, "that" is a relative pronoun; "why" is an adverb.
    You use the pronoun when substituting for the noun.
    Consequently, the noun "secret" becomes replaced by the relative pronoun.

    You would use "why" to add a qualification to the noun.
    Eg. You could say "There is no reason why...". Here, "why" qualifies, and does not substitute for, the noun.

    PS "just about" has no effect on your choice but it adds nothing to "anyone" and therefore should be omitted.