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I met the sentence on Twitter:

You know what we’re witnessing now? Evidence that the Left knows it is starting to lose.

— Elliott Hamilton (@ElliottRHams) March 30, 2018

I can get its meaning but fail to analyze the structure.


After thinking over and over, I figure out:

"Evidence" is the main clause, functioning as the object of "are witnessing".

"that ..." is the appositive clause of "evidence".

In the that-clause:

"the Left" is the subject,

"knows" is the verb,

"it is starting to lose" is the objective clause of "knows".

"it" is referring to "the Left".

  • What if you drop "Evidence that" to leave "The Left knows it is starting to lose”. How does the meaning change, please? There are grammatical differences, and how do they change the meaning, please? – Robbie Goodwin Apr 2 '18 at 19:34
  • So what's your analysis, please? I'm glad to hear, sincerely. – Zhang Jian Apr 3 '18 at 5:59
  • Zhang Jian, could you look back, drop “Evidence that…” then start your own analysis again, please? – Robbie Goodwin Apr 3 '18 at 22:04
  • @RobbieGoodwin As I said, "the Left" is the subject, "knows" is the verb, "it is starting to lose" is the objective clause of "knows", "it" is referring to "the Left". – Zhang Jian Apr 4 '18 at 0:48
  • Jolly good, but what then happens to "Evidecne" as your main clause and object? Did they not matter? – Robbie Goodwin Apr 4 '18 at 20:54
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The over all structure is a rhetorical question and answer. The answer isn't a full sentence, it is a noun phrase.

Compare:

What am I eating? Rice.

The answer "rice" isn't a full sentence. The subject and verb are implied by the question. In full it would be "I am eating rice."

The full sentence would be "(We are witnessing) evidence that the Left knows it is starting to lose". The structure is "Noun - relative clause". The relative clause "the left knows it is starting to lose" describes the type of evidence.

  • "that ..." is the appositive clause of "evidence". Am I right? – Zhang Jian Apr 2 '18 at 9:47
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After thinking over and over, I figure out:

"Evidence" is the main clause, functioning as the object of "are witnessing".

"that ..." is the appositive clause of "evidence".

In the that-clause:

"the Left" is the subject,

"knows" is the verb,

"it is starting to lose" is the objective clause of "knows".

"it" is referring to "the Left".

  • "Evidence" cannot be a "main clause", because a clause is something that has at least a subject and a verb, and "evidence" has no verb. – stangdon Apr 2 '18 at 15:40
  • @stangdon Is there anything wrong in the rest part of my analysis? – Zhang Jian Apr 3 '18 at 6:01
  • I'm not sure this can be completely analyzed that way because it isn't a complete sentence, which has at least a subject and a verb, and "Evidence that the Left knows it is starting to lose" does not. It looks like deletion of "This is evidence that (etc.)" or "We are witnessing evidence that (etc.)". If we look at it that way, the entire thing is the object of something else. I don't think "that..." is an appositive, because an appositive describes something else, usually set off with commas, like "This trend, evidence that the Left knows (etc.), is..." – stangdon Apr 5 '18 at 18:04
  • @stangdon since it is not appositive, what dose the that-clause function as? – Zhang Jian Apr 6 '18 at 5:31

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