7

I wrote:

However, the program needs a feature training file, (feat.trn), which I don't know what it is, and how I can provide it.

I know in relative clauses wh-words are used as the absent pronoun like:

He gave me the book which I like.

** He gave me the book which I like it .

But in my sentence I used "it" in the relative clause, is my sentence yet correct?

  • 3
    You really don't need the comma before the opening parenthesis... it makes no sense there. – Catija Aug 2 '16 at 16:06
  • +1. The it in your first example is called a "resumptive pronoun"; you may be interested in this Wikipedia article: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resumptive_pronoun. As explained there, they're pretty common in sentences like your first one, but not usually considered "correct". (And not just by peevers. Even ordinary speakers find them weird, but we resort to them when we get too far into a sentence that won't work without one.) – ruakh Aug 2 '16 at 20:32
5

OP's second example correctly shows that we don't like to simultaneously reference the book using both which and it in the same relative clause.

This makes things awkward for the first case, where we need to reference a feature training file twice in the relative clause (within which there are two embedded free relative clauses). Sometimes native speakers will simply ignore the above principle, but the end result always tends to sound uneducated/careless.

Most speakers would simply abandon the relative clause construction and switch to a constrastive conjunction (which could be one sentence or two - the punctuation is a stylistic choice)...

The program needs a feature training file, but I don't know what it is, or how I can provide it.

  • 1
    "What it is" and "how I can provide it" are not relatives; they are subordinate interrogative clauses. – BillJ Aug 2 '16 at 15:42
  • 2
    In "He gave me the book which I like __, gap is direct object and co-referenced to "which" and the antecedent "book". Expressing "it" overtly in the relative clause is thus inserting the direct object twice; that's why it's ungrammatical. – BillJ Aug 2 '16 at 16:01
  • 1
    It's not a 'toy' example, whatever is meant by that.It's the OP's actual example. The simple fact is that the relativised element "which" is direct object, which is why including "it" is effectively expressing the direct object twice. – BillJ Aug 2 '16 at 16:17
  • 1
    And about the terminology, I completely agree with @BillJ. – Man_From_India Aug 2 '16 at 16:17
  • 1
    @BillJ There are competing terminologies here: these wh- nominals are variously called 'embedded questions', 'embedded interrogative clauses', 'free relative clauses', 'fused relative clauses', and all of these terms have different inadequacies.But whatever you call em, you can't 'extract' a term into a superordinate wh- and leave a gap behind AND you can't extract into the wh- and leave a pro-form behind. It's a lose/lose situation. – StoneyB Aug 2 '16 at 16:34
3

*However, the program needs a feature training file, (feat.trn), which I don't know what is it, and how I can provide it.

If you don't want to use yet or but etc:

However, the program needs a feature training file, which is something I don't know about and don't know how to provide.

However, the program needs a feature training file, which is something unknown to me, which I don't know how to provide.

P.S.

However, the program needs a feature training file, something (that) I don't know about and don't know how to provide.

However, the program needs a feature training file, something I know nothing about and don't know how to provide.

However, the program needs a feature training file, something unknown to me and I don't know how to provide it.

  • Thank you! how about "The program needs a feature training file, something that I don't know about and don't know how to provide." – Ahmad Aug 3 '16 at 3:57
  • Indeed. something can head the clause in that way. See the P.S. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Aug 3 '16 at 9:48

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.