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Nobody knows for sure (that, what) the world will look like in 20 to 25 years from now?

The second part: "the world will look like 20 to 25 years from now" is it correct or wrong?

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    The subordinator "that" requires a finite clause complement, but the expression the world will look like in 20 to 25 years from now is not even a clause but just a fragment since the obligatory complement of "like" is missing. By contrast, what the world will look like in 20 to 25 years from now is fine. It's a subordinate interrogative clause (embedded question) as complement of "know".
    – BillJ
    Jun 15, 2017 at 8:27
  • Thanks for the answer. Does it matter that " in " is in the sentence? Would anything change if I omitted " in " in the sentence?
    – lulu
    Jun 16, 2017 at 0:34
  • No, omitting it wouldn't change anything.
    – BillJ
    Jun 16, 2017 at 6:20
  • I'm not an English major, so the terminology in BillJ's comment may mean this, but in simple terms: "that" refers to a specific example, like "that the world will look like X in 20 to 25 years". "What" is a general reference to the unknown or unspecified possibilities, like in your example. Also, it's redundant to use both "in" and "from now". Use either "in 20 to 25 years" or "20 to 25 years from now".
    – fixer1234
    Jun 17, 2017 at 17:27

1 Answer 1

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First I want to give you a simple example :

1)Nobody knows me.

Here "me " is the object. Nobody knows what? =me

Now I am coming back to your example:

2) Nobody knows for sure what the world will look like in 20 to 25 years from now.

What's is the object in this sentence? It's "what the world will look like in 20 to 25 years from now. " And it's a noun clause. Nobody know what? = what the world will look like in 20 to 25 years from now.

You can't use "that" this way. Hope it helps you out.

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