3

Which of the following orders are grammatically correct (maybe all)? Which are the most common? Do each of them have their own usage and implication (in specific conditions)?

It is hard that I can't see you

This matter that I can't see you is hard for me

that I can't see you is hard

that I can't see you is hard for me

  • The first one is probably most common. The other three are not very idiomatic, but they are grammatically correct. – Sander Jul 28 '15 at 19:19
  • @Sander Well, I would like to know the implication of reordering them, for example maybe to emphasize something – Ahmad Jul 28 '15 at 19:33
6

It is hard that I can't see you [2]

This matter that I can't see you is hard for me [4]

that I can't see you is hard [3]

that I can't see you is hard for me [1]

I've ranked according to my ear's sense of idiomatic expression. I use that-clauses as subjects instead of dummy "it" but some speakers find that-clauses a bit wooden when used in that way.

The sentence marked #4 has a that-clause standing in apposition to "this matter":

This matter —that I can't see you— is hard for me.

The syntax is legal but it sounds to me more like a word-for-word translation from the German than it does idiomatic English.

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2

Your first sentence is the most idiomatic.

As for emphasis, as you mentioned in your comments, you can indeed reorder your sentence and place what you want to emphasize in initial position. However, with a subclause you should probably choose another way of emphasizing since long parts of sentences are usually put at the end of the sentence. Also note that new information is usually also put at the end of a sentence while known information can normally be found in the beginning or the middle of it.

In your first sentence, you can see that there is a provisional subject it in order to make the sentence more readable by allowing the long phrase to be replaced to the end of the sentence. If you then reverse the order again by placing that long phrase at the beginning of the sentence, your sentence becomes less pleasant to read.

There are other ways to emphasize phrases, have a look at this:

  • What is hard for me, is that I can't see you.
  • I can't see you, which is hard for me.
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-3

1) Very common and makes sense. It means that somebody is distressed or unhappy that they can't see somebody.

2, 3 and 4 make no sense.

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  • Why don't the other sentences make sense? They may not be very idiomatic, but they are grammatically correct. – Sander Jul 28 '15 at 20:11
  • How are you sure that they make no sense? are you native? – Ahmad Jul 28 '15 at 20:15
  • @Ahmad I am native! – MagikCow Jul 29 '15 at 8:51
  • It's interesting, the other answer by TRomano, who is native too, has an opposite view. – Ahmad Jul 29 '15 at 8:53

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