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It indicated that eating food varied significantly with animal size, whereas drinking water did not varied significantly with animal size.

Is adding two conjunctions (that and whereas) in one sentence correct?

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  • My question is adding two conjunctions (that and whereas) in one sentence is correct? – Hinli Jul 7 '17 at 4:09
  • There's nothing wrong with "that" and "whereas". However, the second "varied" should be "did not vary". You could actually simplify the sentence by leaving off the redundant portion; just end with "did not". It would be understood to parallel the earlier portion. – fixer1234 Jul 7 '17 at 4:24
  • @user178049 It is now at least an understandable question about a specific grammatical matter. What is that here? It does not appear to be a conjunction. Why not have a go at an answer? – P. E. Dant Jul 7 '17 at 5:38
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I'm a native speaker and I learned something from you, so thanks.

It indicated that eating food varied significantly with animal size, whereas drinking water did not varied significantly with animal size.

You're correct that both "that" and "whereas" are conjunctions. "Whereas" joins together clauses. "That" introduces a clause (see M-W: that -- conjunction). However, there's nothing wrong with "that" and "whereas" in the example, they are both used appropriately.

The second "varied" is incorrect, though. With do or did, the present tense, vary, is required:

It indicated that eating food varied significantly with animal size, whereas drinking water did not vary significantly with animal size.

You could actually simplify the sentence. When you make a direct comparison like this, where one case is just the negation of the other, you don't need to repeat the redundant portion. The second case is understood to parallel the first. You could end the sentence with "did not":

It indicated that eating food varied significantly with animal size, whereas drinking water did not.

  • @user178049, I didn't read M-W far enough. You're right. It actually is a conjunction--it's used to introduce a clause. I'll correct the answer. Thanks. – fixer1234 Jul 7 '17 at 6:42
  • Yes, it's a subordinating conjunction. Btw it's worth pointing out that the "that" is optional in this case. – user178049 Jul 7 '17 at 6:51
  • @user178049, thanks for the fix. This is a bit out of my area. If I understand subordinating conjunction, it joins a dependent clause to a main clause. In the example, the first phrase is the main clause. I'm confident that it's a conjunction, but not really qualified to define it beyond that. :-) In terms of "that" being optional, I think that is technically true, but the sentence is complex. Leaving it out seems to read much less smoothly. – fixer1234 Jul 7 '17 at 7:07
  • Yup, "It indicated that eating food varied significantly with animal size" is the main clause and "eating food varied significantly with animal size" is the subordinate clause. It's confusing because this terminology is outdated. In modern grammar, "that" here is just a meaningless subordinator that do nothing but introduce the subordinate clause. Btw, I'm not a qualified person either. I'm just a wannabe linguist here. :) – user178049 Jul 7 '17 at 7:18

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