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Problem 1:
a.This is the city where I lived
b.This is the city I lived

Which is correct, a or b? Please help me. Thanks

Problem 2:
"It seems to bother the teacher that all the students are being too quiet."

Are the words in bold a relative clause, and does it modify teacher?

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    This should have been two separate questions.
    – Mr Lister
    Mar 12, 2017 at 7:15
  • Also, as you write questions here, you might want to avoid saying things like “Please help me; thanks.” That doesn’t really add much meaning to your question. It would be better to give us more information about the problem you face. For example, where did you find Problem 1? Is it from a book? Does the book give you the answer already? Why are you having trouble with the problem? We talk about this a lot more in our “Details, Please” meta post, which you can read here.
    – J.R.
    Mar 12, 2017 at 9:53

3 Answers 3

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The first question should be easy. Ask yourself if you could "live a city." You can live a life, but you live in a city. The adverb where modifies the verb live. Here's info from Google Dictionary. The first definition of where as an adverb:

  1. at, in, or to which (used after reference to a place or situation).
    "I first saw him in Paris, where I lived in the early sixties"

For the second question, you need to understand what a relative clause is.

Relative clauses are clauses starting with the relative pronouns who*, that, which, whose, where, when. They are most often used to define or identify the noun that precedes them. http://esl.fis.edu/grammar/rules/relative.htm

The phrase in question starts with "that," but does it "define or identify the noun (teacher)? No it does not. Here's an example of a relative clause:

It seems to bother the teacher that came from another school.

Here, the phrase in bold tells us something about (modifies) the teacher - that he came from another school. In your example, "that all the students are being too quiet" tells us something about what bothers the teacher, not the teacher himself.

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    The first sentence would be grammatically correct with the word "inhabited"
    – Mr Lister
    Mar 12, 2017 at 7:18
  • @Stephen C 1."I first saw him in Paris, where I lived in the early sixties" In above example , is "in" required or be able to omit? Mar 13, 2017 at 10:46
  • @PhamVanDuc "in" is required in that example, but it's part of the phrase "in the early sixties" rather than referring to the city. As an example, you can even say "...the city I lived in in the early sixties", where the two "in"s are grammatically correct, even if very awkward.
    – Mr Lister
    Mar 27, 2017 at 9:30
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(a) This the city where I lived. (b) * This is the city I lived.

Only (a) is correct. For this sense of the verb “live”, either a relative word is required in adjunct function as in (a), or the preposition “in” must be added at the end and the relative word becomes optional: This is the city (that) I lived in.

Note that with a different verb like, say, “love”, the relative word is optional: This is the city (that) I loved, where the relative word (overt or covert) is not an adjunct but object of the relative clause.

It seems to bother the teacher that all the students are being too quiet.

The element in bold is not a relative clause, but a content clause functioning as extraposed subject. This is special kind of 'information packaging' construction called extraposition, where the subject of the basic non-extraposed version is moved (extraposed) to the end of the sentence, outside the verb phrase, and replaced with the dummy pronoun “it” which becomes the subject.

The non-extraposed version would be:

That all the students are being too quiet seems to bother the teacher.

The extraposed version would be more likely than the basic one in examples like this, and hence considered to be the default construction.

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Problem 1

a. This is the city where I lived
b. This is the city I lived

In sentence a, I have marked the relative clause. This sentence is correct: where I lived is a defining relative clause. this and city are the same thing, so you could consider it as defining this, or as defining city.

Sentence b is the same sentence, but the relative pronoun where has been omitted. While it is permissible to omit the relative pronoun that under some circumstances, it is never permissible to omit other relative pronouns, so sentence b is not correct.

that can be omitted in informal English when it defines the subject of the first clause.

The relative pronoun defines the subject of the first clause, so if we replace where with that, it can be omitted, so both of these sentences are correct:

a. This is the city that I lived in
b. This is the city I lived in


Problem 2

It seems to bother the teacher that all the students are being too quiet.

The words in bold are indeed a relative clause. if you think about what the relative clause means, you will realise that it is about an idea- the idea that all of the students are being too quiet. You can't qualify a teacher as if he or she were an idea, so it must be qualifying it: it is the idea that bothers the teacher.

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  • I don't think it's really important to replace where with that. My book says, if the relative clause has a non-subject gap and the preposition is stranded, it's fine to omit the relativizer. This is the city (where) I lived in. Mar 12, 2017 at 6:00
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    @user178049: But "This is the city where I lived in" is incorrect because where and in perform the same function. You can't talk about omitting something when the starting sentence is incorrect.
    – JavaLatte
    Mar 12, 2017 at 6:10
  • To be honest, I really can fine any error in that sentence. Mar 12, 2017 at 6:14
  • @user178049: where is equivalent to in which, so that sentence is equivalent to "This is the city in which I lived in". Two ins... that's one too many.
    – JavaLatte
    Mar 12, 2017 at 6:25
  • In the Problem 2 example, the that clause is not relative. This a special kind of construction called "extraposition", where the subject of the basic version, that all the students are being too quiet is extraposed to the end of the sentence outside the VP and replaced by the dummy pronoun "it". (the basic version of the sentence would be That all the students are being too quiet seems to bother the teacher).
    – BillJ
    Mar 12, 2017 at 7:49

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