"The four houses are called Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. Each house has its own noble history and each has produced outstanding witches and wizards. While you are at Hogwarts, your triumphs will earn your house points, while any rule-breaking will lose house points. At the end of the year, the house with the most points is awarded the house cup, a great honor. I hope each of you will be a credit to whichever house becomes yours.
(Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, pp.114)

When I read the phrase, I feel like hopping onto the next stepping stone, in between a stone is missed. So I account if the phrase were ‘a credit to whichever house that becomes yours’, I wouldn’t have felt that way.

In this phrase, is there missing subject as I mentioned, or does the phrase itself make the complement of ‘to’? I mean is it the way how English users say?

  • 2
    This is a "free relative clause" (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_relative_clauses) – Erwin Bolwidt Jul 6 '14 at 8:11
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    Eric gives a detailed explanation in his answer. At the intuitive level, there's already a "which(ever)" in the clause, so adding another "which" or "that" wouldn't seem right. – David Richerby Jul 6 '14 at 9:03
  • @DavidRicherby, "you will be a credit to the House whichever house becomes yours" would be okay, wouldn't it? – Listenever Jul 6 '14 at 13:43
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    1) The relativizer you want to insert is already 'built in' to whichever, which acts a relative determiner; in older English you could say which House ever becomes yours. 2) In "you will be a credit to the House whichever house becomes yours", the whichever clause should be set off with a comma; it is not a bound relative clause modifying House but an 'absolute' free relative clause modifying the entire main clause; it has the same sense if you front it: "Whichever house becomes yours, you will be a credit to it." – StoneyB on hiatus Jul 6 '14 at 16:10
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    @Listenever Exactly. Commas are often omitted in sentences so brief that they can be taken in at a single glance, to avoid tiring the reader with excessive pointing. – StoneyB on hiatus Jul 6 '14 at 23:51

I mean is it the way how English users say?

Short answer: Yes, absolutely. "Whichever house becomes yours" is perfectly valid. In fact, the clause "whichever house that becomes yours" is very awkward, and it's not grammatical.

Long answer: In the phrase that you highlighted, whichever house is the subject. It could refer to this house or that house or any other house you like. Regardless of which house it is, it is a house, and is the subject of the verb that follows it. In the same sense, you would not say (as a standalone sentence):

*The king's son that becomes the next king.

The correct way to say it is:

The king's son becomes the next king.

Just as the king's son is the subject here, whichever house is the subject in the sentence you provided. Therefore, you should not follow it with "that".

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