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It was on his way back past him that he heard what they were saying.

Is the underlined word a complementiser?
And are the bold words a noun phrase?

A noun phrase answers one of these questions: who(m) or what?

It was on his way back past him

Analysis:

The subject of the main clause= It
Main verb=was
Prepositional phrase=on his way back past
Object of preposition=him

Is this all right?

So, I ask who or what to the clause and if the bold words answers the question, then that must be a complementiser and the underlined words must be a noun phrase.

Is this right?

Thanks.
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Comments  
Eddie:
Where do you get these sentences? The one you cite makes no sense; the words "past him" are out of place.

Here is one way I would say this:
He was on the way back when he heard what they were saying.
on = preposition
his way back = noun phrase, object of preposition "on"
The first subordinate clause (beginning with "when") is adverbial. The second, "what they were saying" is a noun clause; it is the direct object of the verb "heard".
When it begins a clause, "that" usually introduces a adjectival clause.
This is the house that Jack built.
I don't think I would call that that a complementizer. It's an obligatory element in a cleft sentence. Unless someone knows a more exact term, I would be satisfied calling it the "cleft that".
The underlying sentence is
He heard what they were saying on his way back past him.
You can highlight almost any constituent by forming a cleft sentence thus:
It is/was [highlighted constituent] that [the rest of the sentence].
___
Highlighting what they were saying gives:
It was what they were saying that he heard on his way back past him.
___
Highlighting on his way back past him gives:
It was on his way back past him that he heard what they were saying.
___
I would analyze it like this:
Cleft sentence structure. It was ... that ...

Highlighted element: on his way back past him
Residue: he heard what they were saying
___
Anaylsis of the highlighted element:
Prepositional phrase: on his way
Adverb: back
Prepositional phrase: past him.
___
I'll leave the analysis of the rest to you.
See "It's the little things that bring me the most joy." for more on cleft sentences.
CJ
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Sorry, I cited the sentence incorrectly.

It should read,

'It was on his way bask past them, clutching a large burger in his hand, that he heard what they were saying.'

Thanks.
Hi, Cj,

Sorry for wasting your time (if this changes the analysis at all). The sentence should read,

'I was on his way back past them, carrying a large burger, that he heard what they were saying.'

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Secondly, I have three short questions, too:

Firstly, I still struggle to understand complementisers. Some of your examples appeared, to me, that they were changed to adverbial clauses.
What did you mean by, 'complementisers changing a clause to a noun... Do they change it to a noun phrase/clause?

I looked on an online dictionary at the different forms of 'that':

conjunction
13.(used to introduce a subordinate clause as the subject or object of the principal verb or as the necessary complement to a statement made, or a clause expressing cause or reason, purpose or aim, result or consequence, etc.): I'm sure that you'll like it. That he will come is certain. Hold it up so that everyone can see it.

Is what they are refering to here an example of a complemeniser?

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Secondly
, in the bold above (the sentence should read), is this a complete sentence? It has a subject and verb relationship, but the verb 'read' seems to make it like it is not a complete thought...

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Lastly
, in regards to 'there' beginning a sentence again, I thought I would use your quote as an example: There are no facts, only interpretations

If you analyse this,

There=subject
are=verb
no=adjective
no facts=noun phrase and object of verb
only interpretation=this is not phrase;it is an adverb with a noun.

Is this correct?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks!
Hi Eddie:
I looked at the description of "complementizer" in wiki and found the description:

A complementizer, as used in linguistics (especially generative grammar), is a syntactic category (part of speech) roughly equivalent to the term subordinating conjunction in traditional grammar. For example, the word that is generally called a complementizer in English sentences like Mary believes that it is raining. The term "complementizer" was apparently first used by Rosenbaum (1967). The complementizer is widely held to be the syntactic head of a full clause, … always first in "head-initial" languages such as English.
It is especially common for determiners to be used as complementizers (e.g., English that). Another frequent source of complementizers is the class of interrogative words. e.g., colloquial English I read in the paper how it's going to be cold today, with unstressed how roughly equivalent to that).
Is this what you are trying to understand? If so, you just have to identify the subordinate clause and its syntactic head.

Now your sentence makes a lot more sense, but I still question the consistency of pronoun usage. I ... my .... I.

I was on my way back past them, carrying a large burger, that I heard what they were saying.
"that" is the head of the clause, so would be, according to the definition above, the complementizer.
I = subject
was = verb
on my way = preposition + adjective + noun (prep. phrase)
back - adverb
past them - preposition + pronoun (prep. phrase)
I still feel that the "that" should be "when". It has the sense of an adverbial clause.
If the subject is It, not I, then the pronouns are OK, and also "that" reads better. "It" translates for me as a time reference..
It was on his way back past them, carrying a large burger, that he heard what they were saying.
It was at that moment, as he was on his way ..., that he heard...
In this case, the antecedent of "that" is "moment".
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I'm so cross with myself. I can't even cite material correctly.

Here is the sentence!

It was on his way back past them, carrying a large burger, that he heard what they were saying.

He=
subject
was=main verb
on his way=preposition plus adjective plus noun
back=adverb
past them=prep plus pronoun

carrying a large burger= present participle phrase

carrying=past participle
a=indefinite article/determiner
large=adjective
burger=noun
a large burger=noun phrase and direct object of participle

that=complementiser
he=pronoun (nominative case)
heard=main verb
what=???
they=pronoun
were=auxillary verb
saying=verb

that he heard what they were saying=noun phrase because of the complementizer.

Could you correct my mistakes please.

Secondly, does a noun phrase always have a complementizer at the start of it (head)?

Thanks.
Secondly, does a noun phrase always have a complementizer at the start of it (head)?
No. According to the description in Wiki, complementizers are the syntactic head of a full clause. A noun phrase is not a full clause. Example: "the grand old man" The syntactic head of a noun phrase is a noun.
It was on his way back past them, carrying a large burger, that he heard what they were saying.
He=subject>> No, The subject is "it"
was=main verb
on his way=preposition plus adjective plus noun
back=adverb
past them=prep plus pronoun

carrying a large burger= present participle phrase>> And there is a real problem with this phrase, since it is a dangling participial phrase. There is no clear antecedent in the main clause. "It" was not carrying anything!
carrying=past participle > No. Present participle.
a=indefinite article/determiner
large=adjective
burger=noun
a large burger=noun phrase and direct object of participle

that=complementiser
he=pronoun (nominative case)
heard=main verb
what=??? >> what introduces another full clause. The noun clause, "what they were saying", is the direct object of "heard". So, I suppose that "what" could be called a complementizer, since it is the syntactic head of the clause. I learned traditional grammar in which "what" was called a relative pronoun. It functions as the direct object of the verb in the clause, as well as its syntactic head.
they=pronoun
were=auxillary verb
saying=verb
I'm so cross with myself. I can't even cite material correctly. Join the club! Have you finally got it right?[6] Emotion: big smile

Here is the sentence!

It was on his way back past them, carrying a large burger, that he heard what they were saying.

He=
subject ??? It (Make up your mind -- Is it It was on his way or He was on his way?)
was=main verb
on his way=preposition plus adjective plus noun
back=adverb
past them=prep plus pronoun

carrying a large burger= present participle phrase

carrying=past participle (Again! present or past? Make up your mind! -- I hope you mean present. Emotion: smile )
a=indefinite article/determiner
large=adjective
burger=noun
a large burger=noun phrase and direct object of participle
does a noun phrase always have a complementizer at the start of it? Look at the noun phrase in the preceding line, and answer your own question. Does it say "that a large burger"? No. Nor does it say "whether a large burger" or "if a large burger". The start of it is a. Is aa complementizer? No. As you say, it's an indefinite article -- a determiner. So of course noun phrases that don't start with complementizers are possible. And noun phrases without complementizers are the most common kind of noun phrases that there are!!! Open any book and you can find them by the thousands! Emotion: smile
A complementizer has to occur before a clause, not before a simple noun. By occuring before the clause it transforms the clause into a noun phrase.
She is smart. -- clause.
that she is smart -- complementizer plus clause = noun phrase. (Some people call them noun clauses.)

I know that she is smart. Noun phrase that she is smart used as a direct object.
Here's a similar one with whether as a complementizer. Again, the noun phrase is made up of a complementizer and a clause, and it is used as a direct object.

I don't know whether she is smart.

that=complementiser <<< No! Huddleston (Introduction to the Grammar of English) considers it a relative pronoun, but it's a special kind of relative pronoun because it refers back to the entire highlighted element, even if that element is a group of words that a normal relative pronoun could never refer back to, like a because clause. Further, there are certain structures that a normal relative pronoun can refer back to that this special relative pronoun cannot. (Personally, I think there are so many differences between this that and any other that that it needs a name of its own.)

he=pronoun (nominative case)
heard=main verb
what=??? <<< You consistently forget what a fused relative pronoun is.
they=pronoun
were=auxillary verb
saying=verb what they were saying is a fused relative structure (which is a noun phrase) used as the direct object.

that he heard what they were saying=noun phrase because of the complementizer. See above.

Secondly, does a noun phrase always have a complementizer at the start of it (head)? Absolutely not. Almost always not. See above.

CJ
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