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I wanted to say

The stock price when he joined the company was $30.

Is this grammatically correct and does it sound natural? If not, is there a better way to say it?

Update: To clarify, what I really wanted to know is if when clauses can describe nouns. The previous example might be a bit ambiguous. Another example:

I wanted to know the stock price when he joined the company.

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  • Why wouldn't it be grammatically correct?
    – Lambie
    May 23, 2022 at 16:38
  • Yes, it's fine but note that the expression "when he joined the company" is a 'fused' relative construction. It does not modify the nominal "stock price"; rather, it has "when" as both antecedent and head of the PP, hence the term 'fused'. It has a paraphrase containing noun+integrated relative: The stock price on the day / at the time when he joined the company was $30.
    – BillJ
    May 23, 2022 at 17:05
  • It seems to be a rearrangement of When he joined the company, the stock price was $30., with the same meaning. May 23, 2022 at 17:33

2 Answers 2

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The stock price when he joined the company was $30.

Yes, it's fine.The important thing here is that "when" takes a temporal expression (like "time" or "day") as antecedent. But "stock price" is not temporal, so the PP "when he joined the company" cannot be modifying it.

Instead, a 'fused' relative construction is required. In "when he joined the company", the single word "when" is simultaneously head/antecedent of the PP (as a prenucleus) and adjunct of time in the relative clause.

It has a paraphrase containing noun+integrated relative: "The stock price on the day / at the time when he joined the company was $30".

Note: in modern grammar, "when" is a preposition, thus "when he joined the company" is analysed as a preposition phrase (PP).

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When he joined the company, the stock price was $30.

The stock price was $30 when he joined the company.

The stock price, when he joined the company, was $30.

All three are grammatical and idiomatic.

The subordinate clause starting with "when" is not modifying a noun in any of those sentences. The clause functions as a temporal adverb modifying "was."

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