This is a dialogue from Bojack horseman tv show

Bojack said "you think this is how she expected her life would be going at 34(age)" I can't make sense out of this syntax. Specifically the part "she expected her life would be going at 34".how these words in this clause are grammatically linked.

can someone help me by telling in terms of adjective s,adverbs and other fundamental units of language

2 Answers 2


[Do] you think [that] this is how she expected [that] her life would be going at 34?

In formal and scholastic registers, this kind of question requires do-support. In an informal, conversational register, some times a question's leading "do" (or "does" or "is" or "are") is dropped.

There are several nested clauses. The outermost clause, usually called the main clause, forms a question. It's subject is "you", it's verb is "[do] . . . think", and it's object is a complete clause. A content clause like this object can optionally be introduced by the word "that". In the original, that optional word isn't used.

In this next clause, the subject is "this", the verb is "is", and the subject complement is yet another clause. Strangely enough, the first word we see of this clause actually belongs to one more clause inside it.

Let's skip to the innermost clause:

Her life would be going {in some way} at 34.

The subject is "her life". The verb is "would be going". I've added a placeholder where an adverb that describes manner (such as "well" or "strangely") could easily fit. Finally, "at 34" is a prepositional phrase.

Next, let's use this clause as the object of some other clause:

She expected [that] her life would be going {in some way} at 34.

If we want to make that as-yet-unspecified manner into the topic of a content clause, we can use the word "how" as the adverb of manner, but also bring it to the beginning of the clause as a subordinator.

how she expected [that] her life would be going at 34.


After all that, you deserve a simple paraphrase:

Do you think that the way her life is going is the same as the way she expected her life would be going by the time she reached this age?

Or, even over-simplified:

Do you think that she's living the life that she expected?


Let us provide the missing links and explain it the traditional way. However I don't know what the context is. It is understandable that Bojack told some one about someone else, a lady.

  • Bojack said, " You think ( that ) this is how she expected (that) her life would be going at 34."

There are three nominal clauses in the reported half with one main clause (you think).

  • that this is (object to ' think'.)

  • How she expected. (Complement to ' this ' )

  • that her life... at 34.( Object to 'expected')

It seems to me that Bojack is in mood to explain his stand to the person spoken to; otherwise it would have been nice to replace " would be going " by " to be ".

  • Is it too informal or rather grammatically wrong. Dec 7, 2018 at 18:20
  • My pleasure; Let's see. Some one might come up to my rescue. Explained one of you query in ELU, if my memory doesn't fail me. Please get to basics. Dec 7, 2018 at 18:28
  • I think it is complex sentence for me.but yeah have to brush up basics.thanks for your help. Dec 7, 2018 at 18:43
  • Can you suggest me a good book which can help me do that. Dec 7, 2018 at 18:44

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