what does "it" refer here..

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Senior Member

The sentence is from a quotation of which I do not know the source:

"For the real danger is not so much that what happened in the past will be forgotten, as the more crucial aspect of how it happened."

In this sentence "it" may refer to:

1-) the act of forgetting.

2-) the way (how) things happened in the past.

What do you think?

Thank you for your help in advance.
  • Bevj

    Allegra Moderata (Sp/Eng, Cat)
    English (U.K.)
    '.......as the more crucial aspect of how [what happened in the past] happened.'

    I understand what the sentence is trying to say (I think!) but it is phrased in a rather odd way.

    The real danger is not so much that what happened in the past will be forgotten, but that how it happened - which is more important - will be forgotten.


    Senior Member
    England English
    'It' means 'what happened'. I feel I should also point out that the sentence is not very well formed grammatically. It reads as if 'the real danger' is 'the more crucial aspect...'. But the 'real danger' is actually that 'how what happened will be forgotten'.


    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    On the basis of parallel construction, I suppose that "it" refers to the thing that happened. It's not a well-constructed sentence, and I may be mistaken.

    We need some context. Where did you see it? Was it a quoted in an article? Did someone write it in a letter? What was the topic? And so on.


    Senior Member
    Thank you. Its a translated sentence, which may be the cause of its grammatical errors.

    Its clear to me now, thank you all.
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