"Is it really all you can say?" Why is the sentence with the relative pronoun "what" incorrect?
Sorry about that. I was thinking of this: "Is it really all what you can say?"
The only word you could add to "Is it really all you can say?" would be "that".
Is it really all that you can say?
"That" is unnecessary though.
I thought that the above sentence is somehow similar to those relative clauses when we are referring to verbs the only pronoun that be can used is "what", like in these examples:
I was surprised what I saw.
I remember what you told me.
The second is correct. "What" could be replaced by "that which".
Your original example was a question. The two examples you just gave are statements. Remember that just because a construction or word fits one sentence, that doesn't mean it fits all of them.
I liked what he said.
I liked everything/all (that) he said.
I liked some of what he said.
I liked some of the things (that) he said.
'What' as a relative has the idea of 'the thing(s) that. 'All' as a pronoun has the idea of 'everything. Perhaps that explains why 'all, everything, nothing, something, thing, things' cannot be followed by relative 'what'.
Last edited by emsr2d2; 03-Feb-2013 at 19:38.