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You can have a virus where people feel well enough while they’re infectious that they get on a plane or they go to a market.

I can't understand a structure of this sentence. What do 'where' and 'that' do and how should I understand them?

It's from a TED video, 'The next outbreak? We’re not ready' in 4:20. https://youtu.be/6Af6b_wyiwI?t=260

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2 Answers 2

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You can have a virus [where people feel well enough while they’re infectious [that they get on a plane or they go to a market ]].

The element in outer brackets is a relative clause introduced by the relative word "where", which has "virus" as antecedent.

Within the relative clause is the embedded content (that) clause, in inner brackets, which functions as an indirect complement, licensed by "enough".

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As to the meaning, here's a paraphrase:

  • The virus creates a situation in which infected people feel well enough to go out in public.

Relative "where" can refer to a characteristic of a location (the hill where you can see the bay, the room where I left my jacket), but also to a characteristic of a situation (the episode where Joey loses his wallet). A virus (i.e. a viral epidemic) is a situation.

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