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    #1

    that

    I would like to know the meaning of "that" in the next sentence.
    What are you doing that is taking so long?

  1. Ksenia
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    #2

    Re: that

    I think it means 'how much time'; you are just wondering at what exactly a person is doing and it takes him so much time.

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    #3

    Re: that

    Quote Originally Posted by wowenglish1 View Post
    I would like to know the meaning of "that" in the next sentence.
    What are you doing that is taking so long?

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Wowenglish,


    (1) I think that it would be easier if we put the words in

    "regular" order (only for analysis):

    You are doing what that is taking so long?

    (2) As you can see, we're dealing with two sentences:

    (a) You are doing what?

    (b) What is taking so long?

    (3) If we combine those two sentences, we get:

    You are doing what what is taking so long?

    (4) English does not accept two what's. So we have to change the

    second what to that:

    You are doing what (that is taking so long)?

    (5) "That is taking so long" is an adjective/relative clause

    that modifies what. That is a relative pronoun acting as the

    subject of the adjective clause.

    (6) Now we can return the words to the order of a question:

    What are you doing that is taking so long?

    P.S. Here's another example:

    What do you know that I don't (know)?

    You do know what (that I don't).

    Again that is a relative pronoun referring to "what." But this time,

    that is not the subject of the adjective clause. It is the object.

    In other words: I don't know that.

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