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    #1

    Grammar

    His words made no more impression than rain on glass. They fell on unhearing ears, words that were swift and tender and full of pity, like a father speaking to a hurt child.

    Why not "like what a father speaking to a hurt child."? Pls.

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    #2

    Re: Grammar

    Quote Originally Posted by puzzle View Post
    His words made no more impression than rain on glass. They fell on unhearing ears, words that were swift and tender and full of pity, like a father speaking to a hurt child.

    Why not "like what a father speaking to a hurt child."? Pls.
    This is just sort of a comparison, and that is one of the ways it is done in English.
    Simply there is no room for that "what".

    See these other examples:
    He talks like a parrot.
    How is she like? She is very beautiful, like a real mermaid.
    She was acting like she knew everything.
    He was behaving like a father speaking to his son.

    PS Not a native speaker

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    #3

    Re: Grammar

    Thanks. But, I think "like what a father speaking to a hurt child" is also right in this case.

    Any other comments? Pls.


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    #4

    Re: Grammar

    Quote Originally Posted by puzzle View Post
    Thanks. But, I think "like what a father speaking to a hurt child" is also right in this case.

    Any other comments? Pls.
    this isn't correct. because you can't use what and the gerund structure. if you want to use what then it has to be: "like what a father would say to a hurt child". but then you are changing the content of the sentence.

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    #5

    Re: Grammar

    His words made no more impression than rain on glass. They fell on unhearing ears, words that were swift and tender and full of pity, like a father speaking to a hurt child.

    I guess the last sentence means "words that were like a father speaking to a hurt child", right? If so, why doesn't"words that were like what a father would say......" mean the same? Pls.

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    #6

    Re: Grammar

    Quote Originally Posted by puzzle View Post
    why doesn't"words that were like what a father would say......" mean the same? Pls.
    This last one is grammatically okay.
    Yet I still prefer the original form.

    PS Not a native speaker

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    #7

    Re: Grammar

    words (that were )like a father speaking to a hurt child.

    words (that were) like what a father speaking to a hurt child.

    The last one is totally wrong, or just not good? Pls.

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    #8

    Re: Grammar

    Quote Originally Posted by puzzle View Post
    words (that were )like a father speaking to a hurt child.

    words (that were) like what a father speaking to a hurt child.

    The last one is totally wrong, or just not good? Pls.
    The last one is completely wrong.
    You could try to fix it as "words like what a father would speak ..."
    or "words like what a father would say ... "
    or "words like what a father could say ... "

    The reason the first of your examples is correct is that in it "a father" plays the subject role, while in your second example "what" plays an object role.

    I think what you are really trying to say is:
    "His words made no more impression than rain on glass. They fell on unhearing ears, words that were swift and tender and full of pity. They were likewords a father says to a hurt child."
    or
    "His words made no more impression than rain on glass. They fell on unhearing ears, words that were swift and tender and full of pity. They were likewords that a father says to a hurt child."

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    #9

    Re: Grammar

    Quote Originally Posted by puzzle View Post
    words (that were )like a father speaking to a hurt child.

    words (that were) like what a father speaking to a hurt child.

    The last one is totally wrong, or just not good? Pls.
    Totally wrong.

    "... like what a father speaking to a hurt child would say." is okay.

    Why do you think the "what" belongs there.?
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #10

    Re: Grammar

    Quote Originally Posted by puzzle View Post
    His words made no more impression than rain on glass. They fell on unhearing ears, words that were swift and tender and full of pity, like a father speaking to a hurt child.

    Why not "like what a father speaking to a hurt child."? Pls.
    I guess you want to say:
    "His words made no more impression than rain on glass. They fell on unhearing ears, words that were swift and tender and full of pity, like those of a father speaking to a hurt child."

    PS Not a native speaker

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