Thread: I'd like to know the logic.

1. Junior Member
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I'd like to know the logic.

I think you can say this:

1 I read the news that a dog killed a man.

But you can't say this:

2 The Aurora Borealis is a phenomenon that curtains of faint and shimmering light are visivle in the night sky.

I think you should use 'in which' in the case of 2.

What do you think is the difference of the two 'that'?
Does anyone know the reason why you can't use 'that' in 2?

Unepomme

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Re: I'd like to know the logic.

Does anyone know the reason why you can't use 'that' in 2?

But you can......if...

2 The Aurora Borealis is a 'phenomenon', in that it is regarded by most people (other than blasé scientists), as a remarkable occurrence. .

2 The Aurora Borealis is a phenomenon in which curtains of faint and shimmering light are visible in the night sky.

So the question becomes, what's the difference between 'in that' and 'in which'?

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Re: I'd like to know the logic.

So the question becomes, what's the difference between 'in that' and 'in which'?

Not really.
What I'd like to know is the difference between the usage of simple 'that'.

While 'the news that' is acceptable, I don't get why 'the phenomenon that' isn't.

Unepomme

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Re: I'd like to know the logic.

Thank you for bearing with me and my circuitous route to the answer.

What I was pointing out was that neither 'that' nor 'which' can be simply slotted in - you had to substitute 'in which', not 'which'.
Why?
What part of speech is 'that' in:
I read (in) the news that a dog killed a man.

What part of speech is required in the sentence:
The Aurora Borealis is a phenomenon _____curtains of faint and shimmering light are visible in the night sky.

and a hint:
The Aurora Borealis is a phenomenon ____ curtains of faint and shimmering light are visible in the night sky
Last edited by David L.; 20-Mar-2009 at 01:39.

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Re: I'd like to know the logic.

It seems rather difficult for native speakers, because you are naturally using the phrase.

Grammatically saying, in the case of 'the news that', this 'that' is not a relative pronoun, but a conjunction, so it doesn't need a lacking part.

My take about these examples is following:

In the case of 'in which', it means 'in the phenomenon', but in the case of 'the news that', it means 'the news is that ...'.

I'm sorry for taking your time.
Unepomme

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Re: I'd like to know the logic.

No apologies necessary. When we all in the forum, that's what our time is for: to help people understand our language.

It's nearly 3 a.m. here, so it's time for my bed...my mind is tired.
Let's talk more about it tomorrow.

Sweet dreams to me, and 'have a nice breakfast' to you!

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Re: I'd like to know the logic.

Start of a brand new day.
(The preliminary discussion below may be elementary to you, but I am conscious that beginners may also be trying to follow our discussion, and I want to take it logically in steps.)

Take these two sentences:
He is a good teacher.
Effective strategies for classroom discipline are the envy and wish of every new teacher.

Now let’s put them together:
Mary said, “He is a good teacher. Effective strategies for classroom discipline are the envy and wish of every new teacher.”

Can you see that the two sentences are disjointed – there is a jump from talking about how someone is a good a teacher, to talking about strategies/classroom discipline.
However, we can show a relationship between the two sentences if we change it to:
“He is a good teacher. His effective strategies for classroom discipline are the envy and wish of every new teacher.”

We could also combine the two sentences, making one the main clause, and the other sentence into a Relative Clause**
** (these either define the ‘who’ or ‘what’ mentioned in the first sentence more specifically; or add more information.)

We combine sentence like this with Relative Pronouns:
“that’, ‘which’, ‘who’, ‘whom’, and ‘whose’
These Relative Pronouns do two things:
1. as pronouns, they refer to somebody or something just mentioned
AND
2. they are conjunctions, because they join clauses together
So:
He is a good teacher, whose effective strategies for classroom discipline are the envy and wish of every new teacher.

Note that because of the possessive pronoun ‘his’ in the second sentence, I needed to use the possessive determiner when I turned it into a relative clause. Note also that ‘whose’ can’t be used on its own, but always with a noun – here, ‘whose (effective) strategies’.

1. Curtains of faint and shimmering light are visible in the night sky.
2. The Aurora Borealis is a phenomenon.

I’ve started by making the information into two valid sentences; and more, they could be un-related:
“The New Years firework display over Sydney Harbour Bridge is as spectacular as ever. Great cloudbursts of colour blanket the harbour sky, and as the bursts now shower to the water below, fading, curtains of faint and shimmering light are visible in the night sky for miles around.”

If we put the two parts together:
The Aurora Borealis is a phenomenon. Curtains of faint and shimmering light are visible in the night sky.

Again, the two are slightly disjointed, and the sentences flow better if I write:
The Aurora Borealis is a phenomenon. Its curtains of faint and shimmering light are visible in the night sky.
So – when I combine these into a main clause, and a relative clause, I must again use the possessive determiner:
The Aurora Borealis is a phenomenon whose curtains of faint and shimmering light are visible in the night sky.

I cannot use “that’, ‘which’, ‘who’, or ‘whom’ on its own (as you found!). However, we can use ‘which’ after a preposition to represent a specified antecedent:
The house in which I live.
“…phenomenon, in which curtains of faint and…”

(To use ‘in that’ would introduce a different meaning, because ‘in that’ is defining what a phenomenon is, whereas ‘curtains of light” specifically describes the Aurora Borealis.)

I read the news that a dog killed a man.
Here, ‘that’ is a conjunction, with the clause defining the actual ‘news’ – but there is no element of possession here, as in your Aurora Borealis sentence!

Hope that clarifies.
Last edited by David L.; 20-Mar-2009 at 17:50.

8. Re: I'd like to know the logic.

You can even say "The aurora borealis is a phenomenon that occurs when curtains of light...."

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Re: I'd like to know the logic.

konungursvia ...is a phenomenon that occurs when curtains of light....

Sweat occurs when I exercisephooh!

BUT exercise does not occur when I sweat on a hot day.glug glug

You might like to look up the meaning of 'occur' again, and the logic of the above.

10. Junior Member
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Re: I'd like to know the logic.

Thank you for your elaborate explanation, David L.

The fire work example you mentioned have made me understand the difference of the two sentences.
In the case of 2, 'that' is not acceptable because other things but Aurora Borealis can cause the phonemenon.

Unepomme

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