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I came across the sentence "The shellfish belongs to past ages when the whales were land animals and all that".

What is the predicative of "animals and all that"? I guess "were land" but If so, Why did it place before "were land" like "the whales, animals and all that were land"?

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"and all that" is a colloquial (informal) expression which is more-or-less synonymous with "et cetera", can be used as a filler, makes what precedes it more vague, or means something akin to "everything connected with the subject mentioned"

To split your sentence into relevant clauses:

The shellfish belongs to past ages

when the whales were land animals

and all that.

The "and all that" in this sentence is using the "everything connected with the subject mentioned" meaning and is modifying "when the whales were land animals", pointing out that the author is also including all the other things that happened when whales walked on land without having to explicitly mention them in the sentence.

  • There is a moderately amusing alternative history book entitled "1066 and all that". It was written in 1930 so it's out of copyright now: you can download a PDF from here: scribd.com/doc/35913509/1066-And-All-That-1930#scribd – JavaLatte Mar 12 '16 at 19:11
  • @JavaLatte Interesting, I may have to check that out sometime. – John Clifford Mar 12 '16 at 19:12
  • Thank you for your answer. And why did animals place after "land"? – Yuuichi Tam Mar 12 '16 at 19:24
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    It's saying that whales used to be "land animals" as in "animals that walked on land". – John Clifford Mar 12 '16 at 19:24
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    Yes, in this case "land" is a noun adjunct modifying animals. – John Clifford Mar 12 '16 at 19:31

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