The levanter increased in intensity, Here I am, between my flock and my treasure, the boy thought. He had to choose between something he had become accustomed to and something he wanted to have. There was also the merchant's daughter, but she wasn't as important as his flock, because she didn't depend on him. Maybe she didn't even remember him. He was sure that it made no difference to her on which day he appeared: for her, every day was the same, and when each day is the same as the next, it's because people fail to recognise the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.

‐ A Paragraph from The Alchemist.

I understand the meaning but I found two things which are not used as the way they are usually.

  1. After the comma a new clause starts with 'it's because' but the previous 'when' part of the sentence seems like it is left in the middle and it is incomplete.

  2. In 'it's because' clause two times a "that" clause was used. First time it was used for giving extra information about 'good things' but the second time I can't understand what it is used for. I can't remember any use of a "that" clause which applies here. Like placed after noun or adjective; used as a complement; or working as a subject or object.

So how are these correct?

  • The semicolon is wrong. The passage makes a little more sense if you simply delete it. Commented Jun 22, 2022 at 3:46
  • @Old Brixtonian Sorry, there was no semicolon in the original text. it was a comma I mistook it as a semicolon
    – RADS
    Commented Jun 22, 2022 at 3:56
  • Oh OK. Thanks :-) Commented Jun 22, 2022 at 5:30
  • @BillJ so how does the whole sentence connects with 'when'. Why does it feel that the 'when' part which is separated by commas is incomplete. So can you just simplify it
    – RADS
    Commented Jun 22, 2022 at 7:16
  • 1
    Sorry, @RADS. My comment was not very clear, so I've deleted it. The when phrase is an adjunct in clause structure functioning rather like an if conditional.
    – BillJ
    Commented Jun 22, 2022 at 14:13

1 Answer 1


We can use the word "that" to to mean "which" ("The one that is red"), but the writer seems to be using it to mean "on which": "every day on which the sun rises". I think it's an irregular usage. "every day that the sun rises" seems to suggest that the sun rises the day, which would be nonsense.

Of course the sun DOES rise every day, and "every day that the sun rises" is clearly intended to be emphatic. It might have been clearer to say, "...the good things that happen in their lives every single day."

By the way, we usually say, "each day seems the same as the last": not "...the same as the next." We don't know today is the same as tomorrow, but we DO know it's the same as yesterday!

I don't know the book. Do you think it's well written?

  • I am very new to the book reading so before picking one I thought it would be better to do a quick search on google. And there I found it as must-read book and it's a best-seller with over 150 million copies sold in more than 50 languages. It was originally written in Portuguese .Why I picked this one because it's only of 150 pages and it only took me 2 days to complete. Experts can in a single sitting. I'm not good enough to criticise a book as not having read many books I'm in no position to judge whether it is well-written or not. But I really loved it as it takes the reader to a journey.
    – RADS
    Commented Jun 22, 2022 at 6:45
  • 1
    @RADS: Yes - I've looked it up now and you're quite right: it is hugely popular! Congratulations on reading it! Shame on me for never having heard of it! Commented Jun 22, 2022 at 12:44
  • 1
    Yes, the book sold millions of copies and the author got very rich and yet it is a very stupid book. And the translation sucks. If you are reading to learn English, this is not the book for you. Try something like Love Story or Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Not that trashy crap.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 5, 2023 at 17:13
  • 1
    @Lambie: It's remarkable how such books sell by the million. I avoid any that promise to take me on a journey! Nowadays I couldn't stomach Jonathan L.S., though I didn't mind it 50+ years ago. I must have been more gullible Commented Jan 6, 2023 at 7:29
  • @Lambie okay I didn't know...I just googled '10 books for beginners' and found it listed there. Thanks for your suggestion I will read those.
    – RADS
    Commented Jan 9, 2023 at 3:00

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