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In this sentence

During this paksha, Moon is ahead of sun by an amount that is between 0 and 180.

What is the grammatical role of the word "that" in the sentence?

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  • "That is between 0 and 180" is a relative clause in which "that" is a subordinator' whose function is that of 'marker'.
    – BillJ
    Aug 5 at 7:08
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    When writing or speaking of the main day and night lights in the sky we use definite articles, and it is usual to capitalise, like this: write 'the Moon' and 'the Sun'. Aug 5 at 11:31

2 Answers 2

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M-W says that as a pronoun, that is

used as a function word to introduce a restrictive relative clause and to serve as a substitute within that clause for the substantive modified by the clause

  • the house that Jack built

So in your sentence,

an amount that is between 0 and 180

that is a pronoun introducing the relative that is between 0 and 180, which modifies the noun amount. Within the relative, that replaces amount, being the subject of is.

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  • Eh? It's not a pronoun but a subordinator -- the same one that introduces declarative content clauses.
    – BillJ
    Aug 5 at 12:37
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During this paksha, Moon is ahead of sun by an amount [that is between 0 and 180].

This is a relative construction. The bracketed expression, "that is between 0 and 180", is a relative clause in which "that" is a subordinator' whose function is that of 'marker'.

Note: despite what most dictionaries say, and what you may read on grammar websites (most of which are not authoritative sources) "that" is not a relative pronoun.

One dictionary gets it right: link

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    Of course, simple wiktionary is not an "authoritative source" either. In fact I'm not sure that there is such a thing for English! There is no authority that defines what is correct grammar, only people with various levels of expertise.
    – James K
    Aug 5 at 10:55
  • @JamesK 1. I disagree. The latest and very best grammars are based on evidence and are compiled from a huge amount of data, descriptive not prescriptive, of course. 2. Actually, in most instances, Wiktionary is a good resource because it is compiled (mostly) by grammarians, including one famous one who shall remain nameless. 3. There is plenty of evidence to prove that relative "that" is a subordinator, not a pronoun. CGEL gives a number of them.
    – BillJ
    Aug 5 at 12:16

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