Double Construction




Double Construction :


The relative pronoun what is equivalent to THAT WHICH and has a double construction….

(1) the construction of the omitted or implied antecedent (that)

(2) the construction of the relative (which)

1. {What | That which} was said is true. [Here what, being equivalent to that which, serves as the subject both of was said and of is.]

2. Tom always remembers {what | that which} is said to him. [Here what, being equivalent to that which, serves as both the object of remembers and as the subject of is said.]

3. Tom always remembers {what | that which} he learns. [Here what serves both as the object of remembers and as the object of learns.]

In parsing WHAT, mention both of its constructions.

Note : Another method of dealing with the relative WHAT is to regard the whole clause (what was said; what is said to him; what he learns) as a noun clause. Thus the clause WHAT WAS SAID in the first sentence would be the subject of is. In the second and third sentences, the clause would be the object of remembers. WHAT, in the first sentence, would be parsed as the subject of was said. In the second, as the subject of IS SAID and in the third, as the object of LEARNS. Neither view is incorrect and each has its special advantages. The student may well be familiar with both methods, remembering that grammar cannot be treated like mathematics.


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