2

What would my family and friends say is the driving force of my life?

The sentence above, I'm not really familar with this specific construction, especially with the position of is.

I guess that means : What is the driving force of my life would my family and friends say?

But how can it be of that position possible?

  • 1
    Consider: "My family and friends would say [what is the driving force of my life]?" – F.E. Jan 21 '15 at 19:12
  • 1
    Wow all of you have gratified my curiostiy. Really appreciate it!! Thanks everyone – user10222 Jan 22 '15 at 13:13
3

Consider this sentence -

My family and friends would say (that) X is the driving force of my life.

We don't know what X is. So

My family and friends would say what is the driving force of my life.

My family and friends would say is the superordinate clause or main clause. The subordinate clause is what is the driving force of my life

Here in subordinate clause is is the main verb. What (X) is the driving force of my life

Subject - What (X)

Verb - is

Predicate - the driving force of my life.

So we form the question this way -

What would my family and friends say is the driving force of my life?

My family and friend would say is the main clause. So notice how the verb would is coming at the front of the subject.

To learn more about this, please go through this answer. @F.E. has written a fantastic answer there.

2

What [would my family and friends say] is the driving force of my life?

The meaning of the sentence is:

Suppose someone asks my family members and my friends: "What is the driving force of his life?" What would they reply?

To remodel a bit:

What would my family and friends say if asked the question of what constitutes the driving force of my life?

Another remodeling:

What is the driving force of my life in the view of my family and friends? What would they say, if asked?

  • 3
    What about this one: If you make it assertive the sentence will be like this - My family and friends would say (that) X is the driving force of my life. -> My family and friends would say what is the driving force of my life. Now make it a question - What would my family and friends would say is the driving force of my life? – Man_From_India Jan 21 '15 at 17:14
  • 1
    @Man_From_India - seems nice to me, you might post it as an asnwer! – CowperKettle Jan 21 '15 at 17:15
  • 2
    I have nothing else to add :( you have already given a good explanation, and Adam also :) – Man_From_India Jan 21 '15 at 17:17
  • 1
    @Man_From_India You really ought to write an answer post, because the OP is specifically looking for a syntactic explanation for that construction. :) – F.E. Jan 21 '15 at 19:13
2

You got the basic structure correct:

What is the driving force of my life?

I think that "would my friends and family say" constitutes as adverbial phrase (not sure about the part of speech, here). It definitely functions like this one would:

What is the driving force of my life, according to my family?

"according to my family" modifies is and could be moved to be nearer to it:

What, according to my family, is the driving force of my life?

Another way we can say "according to my family"

What would my family say is the driving force of my life?

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.