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    #1

    Usage of the word WHAT

    I have a question about the word "what".


    In the sentence below I believe the word "what" is a adjective:

    What a woman.


    In the sentence below is the word "what" an adverb?

    What a woman says can be important.

    If not what is it and why?

    Thank you in advance.

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    #2

    Re: Usage of the word WHAT

    Quote Originally Posted by notmyname216 View Post
    I have a question about the word "what".


    In the sentence below I believe the word "what" is a adjective:

    What a woman.


    In the sentence below is the word "what" an adverb?

    What a woman says can be important.

    If not what is it and why?

    Thank you in advance.

    ***** NOT A TEACHER / ONLY MY OPINION


    Notmyname,



    (1) I have checked my books, and I believe that you are

    100% correct in calling "what" in the first sentence an adjective.

    One of my favorite books (Professor George O. Curme's A Grammar of

    the English Language) says:

    What is used also ... as an exclamatory adjective. His examples:

    What weather! What a day! Oh, what trouble we have had!

    *****

    Two points:

    (a) I read that perhaps a sentence like yours is short for

    "What a woman she is!" (That is: She is what a woman!)

    (b) In some of the newer grammar books, they call "what"

    in that sentence a "predeterminer." That is, some recent

    books call "a" a determiner. Since "what" is in front of

    a determiner, then it is called a pre ("pre" = in front of/before) -

    determiner.

    *****

    (2) Your second sentence is very interesting. According to two of my

    favorite grammar books (that use traditional words such as adjective,

    adverb, conjunction, etc.) the "what" in "What a woman says can

    be important" is an indefinite relative pronoun.

    (a) First, let's analyze your sentence:

    Subject: What a woman says

    Verb: can be

    Complement (subjective): important

    (b) My favorite book tells me that "what" in that kind of sentence

    really = that which.

    In other words, That (which a woman says) can be important.

    That = subject

    Which a woman says = adjective clause (modifies "that")

    can be = verb

    important = subjective complement

    Thank you for your questions. They really helped me

    to review my grammar.


    P.S. Remember: If a teacher disagrees with my answers, you

    should believe the teacher's answers, not mine. This website

    wants learners to receive the most accurate answers possible.

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    #3

    Re: Usage of the word WHAT

    Thank you TheParser.

    In the example sentence, below, that you gave is the word "That" a pronoun?

    That which a woman says can be important.

    What is "which"?

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    #4

    Re: Usage of the word WHAT

    Quote Originally Posted by notmyname216 View Post
    Thank you TheParser.

    In the example sentence, below, that you gave is the word "That" a pronoun?

    That which a woman says can be important.

    What is "which"?
    The Parser's analysis is basically correct, although the second 'what' would, in modern grammatical parlance, be more normally termed a nominal relative pronoun.

    'Which' in your current sentence is a relative pronoun, with demonstrative pronoun 'that' as antecedent.

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