It's the antithesis of everything a good historian is supposed to be.1

The meaning of this sentence is clear. But I have a question whether the word "what" is not missing there by chance. It's the antithesis of everything what a good historian is supposed to be.

1. Source: http://revolution-fr.livejournal.com/88475.html

  • What a weird construction this is. So with all of this fancy construction out, the sentence says, " A good historian is supposed to be the opposite of everything"? – Ghaith Alrestom Nov 11 '15 at 20:46
  • @GhaithAlrestom - No, it doesn't say that, it says that "It" (whatever "it" is) is the opposite of a good historian. – stangdon Nov 11 '15 at 21:13
  • I didn't understand it. Could you please try to say in a different way? – Ghaith Alrestom Nov 11 '15 at 21:15
  • @GhaithAlrestom - It is the subject. It is the antithesis (what is it the antithesis of?) of everything (so it's the opposite to all these things) that a good historian is supposed to be. That is, everything that we think a good historian should be? This is the opposite of all those things. – stangdon Nov 11 '15 at 21:57
  • @GhaithAlrestom – Yes, although I'm not a native speaker I have the impression that there is something wrong with that sentence. And you proved it in my opinion very illustratively. It probably stems from the fact that the site is French. – bart-leby Nov 11 '15 at 22:11

You could add another word there, but that word would not be "what." The only other option that I see there would be something like this:

It's the antithesis of everything that a good historian is supposed to be.

However, in English, "that" is often left out. The sentence doesn't lose any meaning by dropping that word. In fact, it sounds smoother.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    The deleted term may also be which. – StoneyB on hiatus Nov 11 '15 at 20:37
  • @StoneyB true as well. Didn't think of that one. I personally wouldn't use it because it sounds unusual to my ear, but that's a possibility too – Alex K Nov 11 '15 at 20:48

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