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It’s a humble landmark named for a man who tirelessly explored, documented, and fought to protect_____would become the most visited national park in the United States.

Filling "what" into the blank that I know would make sense, but why can't I insert "it, which" to make it a relative clause?

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    It wouldn't work. You can't modify "it" with a relative clause here.
    – BillJ
    Nov 10, 2020 at 13:18

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You can use it here but you would need to divide the statement into two separate parts and either repeat it or find another subject for the second part.

It’s a humble landmark named for a man who tirelessly explored, documented, and fought to protect it. It (the area / park) would become the most visited national park in the United States.

This construction is much lengthier and repetitive.

It's much simpler just to use what, which here acts as a pronoun signifying something that. The choice of it does not serve the same function.

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  • I mean why I can't write it like " It’s a humble landmark named for a man who tirelessly explored, documented, and fought to protect it, which would become the most visited national park in the United States" by using a relative clause ? Nov 10, 2020 at 12:02
  • The construction requires a full stop / period or a semi-colon after it and a second statement to follow. The alternative is to write ....to protect something that would become..... Nov 10, 2020 at 12:10
  • Could you explain the grammar here and why my making it a relative clause is not right? Nov 10, 2020 at 12:12
  • It's not clear what which relates to. I can only refer you to sites that illustrate the use of relative pronouns, such as: learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/english-grammar-reference/… Nov 10, 2020 at 12:24
  • I think "which" relates to "it" before the comma, but yeah, I will visit the sites Nov 10, 2020 at 12:26

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