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"Bees are emblematic of how the fight to save our planet and stop runaway climate change cannot wait."

(The Guardian.)

Is how the fight to save our planet and stop runaway climate change cannot wait an indirect question (a clause category) and a complement (a function) in the PP?

Can it be interpreted like this:

Bees are emblematic [representative] of the answer to the question how cannot the fight to save our planet and stop runaway climate change wait??

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Bees are emblematic [representative] of the answer to the question 'How can the fight to save our planet and stop runaway climate change not wait?'"

The subordinate interrogative interpretation is dependent on "how" being an interrogative word, in which case that might be a possible interpretation on the understanding that it deals with the question of why the fight cannot wait.

The sentence is somewhat infelicitous, though, and its interrogative meaning is open to question. For example, some would say that "how" is an informal subordinator/relative word here, so the meaning is Bees are emblematic of the fact that the fight to save our planet and stop runaway climate change cannot wait.

But the problem with that analysis is that it means the clause is a 'fused' relative one, and that is not normally possible with "how".



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tkacka15Is how the fight to save our planet and stop runaway climate change cannot wait an indirect question (a clause category) and a complement (a function) in the PP?

Personally I don't see the "how" part as an indirect question. I don't know what the corresponding direct question could be. To me, the sentence means "emblematic of the fact that / the extent to which" or similar. Another example of non-interrogative "how" might be "He told me how he can't eat any meat", which in fact means "He told me that he can't eat any meat" (more or less).

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BillJ"Bees are emblematic [representative] of the answer to the question 'How can the fight to save our planet and stop runaway climate change not wait?'"

I see. Thank you for the explanation.

 GPY's reply was promoted to an answer.
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GPYPersonally I don't see the "how" part as an indirect question. I don't know what the corresponding direct question could be. To me, the sentence means "emblematic of the fact that / the extent to which" or similar. Another example of non-interrogative "how" might be "He told me how he can't eat any meat", which in fact means "He told me that he can't eat any meat" (more or less).

Thank you for the reply.

Maybe, of how the fight to save our planet and stop runaway climate change cannot wait", the PP, has its complement understood as a NP, i.e., "the way [which] the fight to save our planet and stop runaway climate change cannot wait [for]".

tkacka15(emblematic of) the way [in which] the fight to save our planet and stop runaway climate change cannot wait [for]"

You took the words out of my mouth (almost).

It's just "wait", not "wait for". The implication is "cannot wait (for anything)", "must not be delayed".

Your paraphrase has an NP complement of "of", but I don't think we want to call the original clausal complement of "of" an NP.

CJ

tkacka15Maybe, of how the fight to save our planet and stop runaway climate change cannot wait", the PP, has its complement understood as a NP, i.e., "the way [which] the fight to save our planet and stop runaway climate change cannot wait [for]".

I don't quite see the sentence as addressing the way (i.e. manner) in which the fight cannot wait. However, since "way (in) which" can (like "how" itself) be used loosely to refer more to a fact than a means or method, it is kind of a hair-splitting point.

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GPYI don't quite see ...

Any thoughts on the same sentence with 'how' changed to 'why'?

Just curious.

CJ

tkacka15Maybe, of how the fight to save our planet and stop runaway climate change cannot wait", the PP, has its complement understood as a NP, i.e., "the way [which] the fight to save our planet and stop runaway climate change cannot wait [for]".

It is problematic. If it were an NP, then it would be a 'fused' relative construction. But "how" does not occur in fused relatives except marginally in what is called the 'free choice' kind such as "You can do it how you like", meaning you can do it any way that you like.

But that's not the case with your example.

I'm not entirely certain of what the current wisdom is on such examples, though an interrogative analysis may be possible, since it is concerned with answering the question "How the fight to save our planet and stop runaway climate change cannot wait?"

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