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What is the meaning of "what it is" in the following sentence,

"Carrier mobility is about half of what it is for n channels"

?

( Source: https://course.ece.cmu.edu/~ee321/spring99/LECT/lect20apr2.pdf )

Does "what it is" mean "carrier mobility" ?

Does "Carrier mobility is about half of what it is for n channels" mean "Carrier mobility is about half of carrier mobility for n channels" ?

I don't understand what "what it is" refers to in the sentence. I would appreciate it if you could explain with a few easy examples.

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  • It's unclear without the context. Please edit your question and (1) tell us where you found this material (Is it a slideshow in an electronics class at a university??), (2) tell us what this sentence is about (Is it describing an electronic circuit or component??), and (3) give us the background knowledge necessary to understand what the technical terms refer to, like "carrier mobility", "n" and "channels".
    – gotube
    Commented Dec 15, 2023 at 23:49
  • gotube// 3) A carrier refers to a charged electron, proton, or ion that can move when an electric field is applied. A channel refers to an area where an environment for carriers to easily move is created by applying an electric field to the semiconductor environment where it is difficult for carriers to move. The n-channel and p-channel refer to individual channels formed in environments with slightly different semiconductor characteristics.
    – user175012
    Commented Dec 16, 2023 at 0:12
  • 1) where I found this material : ( Source: course.ece.cmu.edu/~ee321/spring99/LECT/lect20apr2.pdf )
    – user175012
    Commented Dec 16, 2023 at 0:14
  • 2) This is about the properties of a semiconductor called a transistor, especially a transistor called a MOSFET, which controls the semiconductor by applying an electric field.
    – user175012
    Commented Dec 16, 2023 at 0:16
  • Great work on (2) and (3). For (1) please tell us what that document is. For instance, is it "a slide show for a university course on electrical circuits or components", or something else? Just the link isn't enough. Also, please edit all of this into your original question above; don't just leave it in the comments. Thanks
    – gotube
    Commented Dec 16, 2023 at 0:46

2 Answers 2

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The whole sentence likely refers to the level of carrier mobility in p-channel transistors, saying it is much less than the carrier mobility in n-channel transistors.

Consider other comparisons:
The mass of a car is far less than what it is for a large truck.

The complexity of an architectural project like a skyscraper is much greater than what it is for a house.

"what it is" is a short relative clause.
Expanded, using the original example,
the mobility (for a p-channel) is less than what it (the mobility) is for n-channels.

The word "what" is a pronoun introducing the clause.

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  • If so, does "The mass of a car is far less than what it is for a large truck" mean "The mass of a car is far less than the mass of a large truck for a large truck" ? does "what it is" mean "the mass of a large truck" ? What does "what" mean and what does "it" mean?
    – user175012
    Commented Dec 16, 2023 at 0:22
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    I tried to clarify my answer above. The word "what" introduces the clause. "it" refers to carrier mobility, and "what" heads the clause. Commented Dec 16, 2023 at 0:48
  • Actually, "what it is" is not a clause but an NP in a fused relative construction. It's the equivalent of the non-fused "that which it is".
    – BillJ
    Commented Dec 16, 2023 at 8:40
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//Question: "Carrier mobility is about half of what it is for n channels"

Is it this?

"Carrier mobility is about half of carrier mobility for n channels"?//

Answer: YES

The reason they say "what it is" is to avoid repeating the term "carrier mobility".

  • My allowance is half of what my sister's is. That means:
  • My allowance is half of my sister's allowance.
    No repetition of the word allowance in the first one above.
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  • Can I apply the structure of the example sentence provided ("My allowance is half of what my sister's is.") to the sentence used in the question? (( what my sister' s is ==> what n channels' carrier mobility is )) If so, does "it" mean "n channels's carrier mobility" ? If so, does ""Carrier mobility is about half of what it is for n channels" mean "Carrier mobility is about half of what n channels' carrier mobility is for n channels"?
    – user175012
    Commented Dec 16, 2023 at 1:45
  • If so, does "The mass of a car is far less than what it is for a large truck" mean "The mass of a car is far less than what a large truck' mass is for a large truck"?
    – user175012
    Commented Dec 16, 2023 at 1:47
  • @user175012 With all due respect, I explained the structure. Why are you asking me again?
    – Lambie
    Commented Dec 16, 2023 at 14:03

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