What cannot be cured must be endured.

When I parse the sentence, I find that What cannot be cured is the NP in fused relative construction and is the subject of the sentence. be is the copula and endured is the subject complement.

If it were That which cannot be cured must be endured instead, the parsing would be the same except that the subject of the sentence would be the noun clause That which cannot be cured.

Have I got it right?

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    Not quite: You are right that "what cannot be cured" is an NP, but "that which cannot be cured" is also an NP, not a clause. We know it's an NP because it has the noun "that" as head. – BillJ Feb 8 at 13:33
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    The negative VP "cannot be cured" is the predicate in the relative clause "which cannot be cured". "Cured" is a sub clause functioning as complement of "be". – BillJ Feb 8 at 14:25
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    What here and that which are grammatically the same thing. – Lambie Feb 8 at 14:29
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    I agree. "What" means "that which". The difference is that the antecedent and the relative word are combined or 'fused' into the single word "what" -- hence the term 'fused relative construction. – BillJ Feb 8 at 14:46

Looks correct to me. The only parts you haven't analysed is the function of "must" in the verb phrase "must be", and the internal structure of "cannot be cured". In "That which ..." the word "that" is a demonstrative pronoun and which is relative.

  • Thanks, @James K. Could you please analyse for me the internal structure of "cannot be cured" and the function of "must" in the verb phrase "must be"? – user40475 Feb 8 at 8:50

Yes, endured is a subject complement. But That which cannot be cured is a noun phrase.

When we say that endured is a subject complement, this does not tell us very much. Is it a noun, an adjective, or a pronoun? It is an adjective.

You have gotten part of it right.

  • I call it a clause, but you call it a phrase. – Patriot Feb 8 at 14:35
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    There's a difference: "that which cannot be cured" has the NP "that" as antecedent modified by the relative clause "which cannot be cured". It's no different to any other NP, cf. "diseases [which cannot be cured]" – BillJ Feb 8 at 14:40
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    @BillJ Yes, I see that you are right. I should be more careful. It is clearly a NP. – Patriot Feb 8 at 14:46

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