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  1. #1
    chance22 is offline Member
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    Default what is omitted in "what is"

    I came across a sentence -- It is fatally easy, as one grows older, to slip into the habit of grumbling that nothing is what it was and lamenting the inferiority of what is.
    I wonder what is omitted in this expression. Should there be "it", that is, what it is, or should I interprete it as what is what it was?
    Thank you
    Last edited by chance22; 15-Dec-2011 at 14:14.

  2. #2
    billmcd is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: what is omitted in "what is"

    Quote Originally Posted by chance22 View Post
    I came across a sentence -- It is fatally easy, as one grows older, to slip into the habit of grumbling that nothing is what it was and lamenting the inferiority of what is.
    I wonder what is omitted in this expression. Should there be "it", that is, what it is, or should I interprete it as what is what it was?
    Thank you
    "what is" in this context = what exists. "It" is not necessary in this reference.

  3. #3
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: what is omitted in "what is"

    What was and what is are two different things = The way things were and the way things are now are very different.

  4. #4
    chance22 is offline Member
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    Default Re: what is omitted in "what is"

    Thank billmcd and emsr2d2 for the explanation. Now I got the meaning of the sentence, but I think maybe grammatically, "what is" means "something that is" , it seems incompete. Usually I find expressions in this pattern:"what is here", "what it is". Can I say this sentence falls into one of these patterns but with certain words omitted, or "what is" can be used independently meaning "what exists now"?

  5. #5
    TheParser is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: what is omitted in "what is"

    [QUOTE=chance22;833311]I think maybe grammatically, "what is" means "something that is"

    NOT A TEACHER


    (1) While we wait for the teachers' answers, may I congratulate you on your sense of

    "what."

    (2) According to my books, "what" is, as you suggested, sometimes a relative pronoun that means something like that which.

    (i) I do not like what you said. = I do not like that which you said.

    (ii) What you said is nonsense. = That which you said is nonsense.

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