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Hello, everyone,

A) What allow us to get off the ground are studying, practicing, and asking for help.

B) It is studying, practicing, and asking for help what allow us to get off the ground.

These are excerpted from a local grammar book, on which the author says, A) (wh-cleft sentence) can be converted into B) (extraposed construction).


I wonder if a fused relative clause could be extraposed. In relation with this inquiry, I found following references;

1.‘No extraposition’ (CaGEL by Huddleston, p.1069)

C) a) ‘What she suggests is unreasonable.’

b) *It is unreasonable what she suggests. (ungrammatical)

Like ordinary NPs, fused relatives do not occur in the extraposition construction.

2. ‘Extraposition of a clausal subject’ (CoGEL by Quirk, p.1392)

But it is worth emphasizing that for clausal subjects (though cf 18.34) the postponed position is more usual than the canonical position before the verb (cf 10.26). Examples are:

D) Type SV: It doesn't matter what you do.

3. ​446. preparatory it (1): subject (Practical English Usage by Swan - 3rd edition),

E) p.423, It doesn't interest me what you think.

F) p.424, George made it clear what he wanted.

(Personally I think these ‘what’ in D), E), F) is all fused relatives.)


While CaGEL says ‘no extraposition with fused relative – what’, CoGEL and PEU provide the references which might be understood to be ’extraposition allowed with fused relative’. Thus, I’m confused and really would appreciate if you kindly share your opinions for my two questions below;

1) If a fused relative clause could be extraposed or not?

2) If B) above is grammatically correct or not?

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deepcosmosI wonder if a fused relative clause could be extraposed.

No. A fused relative clause extraposed won't create a grammatical sentence. (Illustrated in A and B, or Ca and Cb. B and Cb are definitely ungrammatical.)

However, a subordinate interrogative clause (indirect question) can be extraposed.


The surface structure of these two structures is the same when the first word is 'what', and it often requires some thinking to decide which of the two any given clause actually is. Whoever commented on D, E, and F considered those clauses to be indirect questions (what you do, what you think, what he wanted).


A recommended paraphrase for testing for an indirect question includes 'the answer to the question':

Consider, for example, What you do doesn't matter. Does it mean The answer to the question 'What do you do?' doesn't matter? Yes. Therefore, you can use the extraposed version It doesn't matter what you do.

In contrast consider What she suggests is unreasonable. Does it mean The answer to the question 'What does she suggest?' is unreasonable? No.* Therefore, you cannot use the extraposed version It is unreasonable what she suggests.


*Important note: If you are still unconvinced, and I wouldn't be surprised if you weren't convinced, then maybe the interpretation is wrong. The difference between the fused relative and the indirect question with 'what' has always been a mystery to me as well.

(I find example E suspect as well. It doesn't sound quite grammatical to my ear.)

CJ

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deepcosmos2) If B) above is grammatically correct or not?

No, and neither is A). Here are corrections.

A) What allows us to get off the ground is studying, practicing, and asking for help.

B) It is studying, practicing, and asking for help that allows us to get off the ground.

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Comments  

Hello, A.Stars, appreciate your reply.

AlpheccaStarsA) What allows us to get off the ground is studying, practicing, and asking for help.

If we consider "studying, practicing, and asking for help' separate concept each, then can we treat the 'what' above as plural one?

AlpheccaStarsB) It is studying, practicing, and asking for help that allows us to get off the ground.

If you agree any 'what' of D, E, F is a fused relative, is there any possibility that a fused relative clause could be extraposed?

deepcosmosIf we consider "studying, practicing, and asking for help' separate concept each,

You have to phase it differently if you want these to be considered separately.

The activities that help us get off the ground are....
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 CalifJim's reply was promoted to an answer.
CalifJim A fused relative clause extraposed won't create a grammatical sentence. (Illustrated in A and B, or Ca and Cb. B and Cb are definitely ungrammatical.)However, a subordinate interrogative clause (indirect question) can be extraposed.The surface structure of these two structures is the same when the first word is 'what', and it often requires some thinking to decide which of the two any given clause actually is. Whoever commented on D, E, and F considered those clauses to be indirect questions (what you do, what you think, what he wanted).

Hi, CJ, you shed light on this subject enough. Even though I know interrogative clauses can be extraposed, I've been confused by the very factor - the fused relative 'what' construction has all the elements of a "clause", and to me, as EFL learner, to differentiate the two kinds of "what" has been really hard.

Now I'm convinced and once again thanking you.

CalifJimIllustrated in A and B, or Ca and Cb. B and Cb are definitely ungrammatical.

A) What allow us to get off the ground are studying, practicing, and asking for help.

A-1) What allows us to get off the ground is studying, practicing, and asking for help.


If you agree with A.Stars' correction (A-1), would you explain what I was missing?

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deepcosmosthe fused relative 'what' construction has all the elements of a "clause"

I wasn't careful enough in my answer to recognize the fused relative construction as a noun phrase, and I mistakenly wrote "clause". I hope I didn't confuse you by making that mistake.

However, yes, it's very much like a clause. I suppose you could say it's the antecedent and the relative clause that goes with it all conceptualized as a single construction because the antecedent and the relative word are fused into the word 'what'.

[the car]ant [which I drive]relC
[that]ant [which I drive]relC
[what I drive]fused rel

deepcosmosto differentiate the two kinds of "what" has been really hard

I think it's even quite possible that an example could be found where it's impossible to know whether the proper analysis is a fused relative construction or an interrogative content clause.

CJ

deepcosmosWhat allow us to get off the ground are studying, practicing, and asking for help.

With the fused relative construction, the 'what' is generally considered singular, so I would not write this one.

deepcosmosWhat allows us to get off the ground is studying, practicing, and asking for help.

I would write this one.

deepcosmosexplain what I was missing?

I don't know. I don't think you were missing anything. I just think you're learning new things all the time. Emotion: wink

CJ

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