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When I asked this, I thought you might reply that it relates to the term or idea of 'a location'. You surprised me by answering in my grammar the clause in bold is an indirect question, not a relative clause. I don't see it as any kind of question at all. Would you also see I know where the pen is as an indirect question? If not, then what would you call it and what would it relate to?
Same idea again.

I (don't) know where the pen is.

where the pen is is a fused relative construction AND an embedded interrogative (clause).

Fused relative interpretation:
I (don't) know the place [where / that] the pen is.

Embedded interrogative interpretation:
I can (cannot) answer the question: Where is the pen?

CJ

P.S. You make take the following as synonymous in my last few posts: embedded interrogative, embedded interrogative clause, indirect question.
CliveThe bottom line, of course, is that any of these systems is OK as long as it provides a tool that someone finds useful in learning to speak good English.

Would you call this a relative clause? I don't know where the pen is. What would you say it relates to?

When I asked this, I thought you might reply that it relates to the term or idea of 'a location'. You surprised me by answering in my grammar the clause in bold is an indirect question, not a relative clause. I don't see it as any kind of question at all. Would you also see I know where the pen is as an indirect question? If not, then what would you call it and what would it relate to?

I learned a grammar that includes categorizing clauses as noun clauses, adverbial clauses and adjectival clauses. That seems helpful to me, because it allows me to say things like this. In the sentence Mary likes cake, you can replace 'cake' by another noun, by a gerund or by a noun clause. In other words, you can use a noun-equivalent as the object. If I just talk about relative clauses, I can't say this so simply, because some kinds of relative clauses can fit as objects and others can't. eg I can't say Mary likes which is chocolate-flavoured. So, I assume that there is some way to differentiate between types of relative clauses in that style of grammar?
Hi Clive

I trust you have returned home with a refreshed mind and full of eagerness to get back to "work" on EnglishForward. Emotion: smile I agree with you 110 percent: grammar and grammatical terminology and definitions are just a tool, and if a tool works for a person, the tool is good enough for him. I am actually not particularly interested in academic grammatical nuances. I'm very pragmatic in my attitude to grammar.

With regard to I don't know where the pen is: yes, of course where indicates a location, but that is self-evident to me and I wasn't taught to analyze language using such terms. And indeed, I was taught to consider where the pen is an indirect question even in a sentence like I know where the pen is. Of course no one is asking anything in the sentence; the term "indirect question" is just grammatical and stems from the word order. The point for me (ages ago) was to learn not to say I know where is the pen, and thus I arrived at the correct word order even though the term "indirect question" made me wonder about the logic of grammar in those early days.Emotion: smile

I'm sure there are other terms that describe the clause with better logic but I don't want to adopt new terms for it. That might cause linguistic confusion in my head because everything relates to everything in language - or languages - and English grammar isn't the only grammar I deal with. At the moment, I think, I have everything sufficiently correctly pigeonholed in the area of my brain reserved for grammar.

I think I'll get a headache if I dig deeper into noun clauses, adverbial clauses and whatever you mention in your post because I am not used to these terms at all. I'm sure they are helpful and good but I have never used them.

I sometimes mention grammarians by name in my posts as I realize that I occasionally use terms which may be unfamiliar to some readers. This is just to stop people thinking I have made up these terms myself.Emotion: smile

Cheers
CB
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CalifJim I like Huddleston's term. He calls these what structures the fused relative constuction. Construction, not clause. And he's quite clear that he doesn't like the word clause for these.

Example:
I paid what it cost.
The paraphrase is
I paid that which it cost.

And only the underlined part is a (relative) clause.

Now note that all the examples given by the original poster have the verb show. What would Jespersen do here? Would he say that show takes a relative and say all examples are of relative clauses (i.e., Huddleston's fused relative construction)? Or would he say that show takes an interrogative and say all examples are of interrogative clauses?

Hi Jim

Your post is an excellent example of the diversity of grammatical analysis. I certainly have no objection to Huddleston's grammatical terms, I just want to use terms I have used all my life. Live and let live.

I have no idea what Jespersen would say in answer to your questions. The man is dead and won't say a word.

Cheers
CB
Thanks Calif Jim and Clive.

I cannot thank too much to you two.

To Clive, his simple and sincere description.

To Calif Jim, your creative explanation which is very interesting and also gives me another insight about "what."

Thanks. I'm going to read it over and again.
Hi again guys,

As a brief comment, my personal feeling is that it should be clear what 'a relative clause' is relative to.

I have a pen which is blue. The clause is relative(ie relates to) to the word 'pen'.

In I know where the pen is,if you call this a relative clause, then the clause is relative to . . . what? Pocket? Desk? Some vague idea of 'location'? Or even a physical location as opposed to the word 'location'? It's a pretty muddy idea, if you ask me.Emotion: smile It seems to me about as helpful as calling 'chair' a relative noun, since it relates to the thing I am sitting on.

Best wishes, Clive
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if you call this a relative clause, then the clause is relative to . . . what?
Much of the literature on the topic says where is both the antecedent and the relative pronoun all in one. That's why it's often called "fused".

I know the place in/at which the pen is. = I know where the pen is.


I'm not completely satisfied with that terminology either, but it does exist.

CJ
I was reading this post from the first page and I must say I learnt a lot of things apart from the fact that I got confused a bit. May one of you please in short tell me what should I say when I am asked a similar question? Should I say it is noun clause or relative clause? Thanks:)
Hi,

I suggest that you use the term that you learned from your teacher and/or a grammar book that you like.

Best wishes, Clive
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CliveI suggest that you use the term that you learned from your teacher and/or a grammar book that you like.
Very well put, Clive! Emotion: smile That's whatI am going to do, anyway.
CB
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