What are we basing it upon, that we can say this?

The Lord of Gluttony

Senior Member
Turkish
Hello,

What is the function of the word that in this sentence: What are we basing it upon, that we can say this?
Would the sentence "What are we basing it upon, we can say this?" without that work?

Many thanks
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    This is a difficult question. "That" in this example seems to be a weird fusion of conjunction and relative pronoun. To me, it means this: We are basing it upon something that (relative pronoun) allows us to say this. What is this thing upon which we are basing "it"?

    Viewed as a conjunction, the sentence might read: That we can say this implies we are basing it upon something. What is this thing?

    Of course, my versions are not the same as your version. Perhaps one of our resident grammar gurus can weigh in and resolve the doubts that bother us both, Lord of Gluttony.

    Your sentence wouldn't work without "that".


    PS I suspect your sentence comes from some source other than your own imagination. If it does, please don't forget to name that source in your next post. :)
     
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    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Yes, we do need to know the source of any quoted sentence. :)

    If this is your own sentence, please tell us that, so we don't keep you asking for the source.
     

    buoo

    Senior Member
    Korean
    My initial reading was "what are we basing it upon, so we can say this?"
    Do you think this is a possibility?

    How about,
    A. What is it that we're basing it upon that we can say this?
    B. What is that we're basing it upon that we can say this?

    Do you also say either of them? And would you consider them as more likely to mean the interpretation I gave above than the original?
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    I need more context to see whether there is a referent for it outside the sentence. If there is no outside referent for it, I interpret this as a somewhat old fashioned way to say "On what are we basing our belief that we can say this?".

    If it refers to something outside this sentence, that might mean "so", among other possibilities.
     

    The Lord of Gluttony

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    Thank y'all for your answers. Really appreciated. But, I am still not clear. I have been thinking over this question, for days. I am really obsessed with this grammar problem, and I really need your help :(

    So... you've asked the source of the quote! I provided it in the thread but a mod found it inappropriate and then deleted it. It's OK. No critique, no judging, no whining :)

    Never mind.

    For example, I want to ask if X Forum (let's say "WordReference Forums") has the most educated community on the internet. But, I don't know what I can base my claim upon. So, I ask a question like that: "What are we basing it upon, that we can say this?" (this = X Forum has the most educated community)

    owlman5 said the sentence wouldn't work without "that". So, can I construct the same sentence as follows: "By basing it upon what, can we say this?"

    Many thanks!
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    Thank y'all for your answers. Really appreciated. But, I am still not clear. I have been thinking over this question, for days. I am really obsessed with this grammar problem, and I really need your help :(

    So... you've asked the source of the quote! I provided it in the thread but a mod found it inappropriate and then deleted it. It's OK. No critique, no judging, no whining :)

    Never mind.

    For example, I want to ask if X Forum (let's say "WordReference Forums") has the most educated community on the internet. But, I don't know what I can base my claim upon. So, I ask a question like that: "What are we basing it upon, that we can say this?" (this = X Forum has the most educated community)

    owlman5 said the sentence wouldn't work without "that". So, can I construct the same sentence as follows: "By basing it upon what, can we say this?"

    Many thanks!
    I believe your sentence is correct and means what you want it to mean, but I would omit the comma because the that clause is important to understanding what "it" is. "It" is something like "the belief":

    What are we basing the belief upon that we can say this?
    Upon what are we basing the belief that we can say this?

    What does not fit at all. That here is just a subordinator, not a pronoun.

    I hope this helps.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    I am open to correction, but I am thinking that that is an adverb and this can be shown by reversing the clauses without altering the meaning- "we can say this in that manner, upon what is it based?
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    a mod found it inappropriate and then deleted it.

    A clarification, for anyone who may be interested, or may wonder about posting links in the future:

    The original link was deleted because some problem with the link made it appear that you had to register with the website it linked to in order to gain access. We don't allow links to websites that require registration or subscriptions. However, you may name such a website as your source.

    In this case, I was able to access the link without registering, so I am posting the link here:

    It leads to a post in a thread on The Straight Dope website, in which they are discussing the question:
    Can we firmly state that Straight Dope Community is more educated than any other internet community? ( ;) )

    If anyone has difficulty accessing the linked post, please let me know in a private message. (You can do that by clicking on my name and selecting Private Message from the drop-down menu.)
     
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