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  1. wotcha's Avatar
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    #1

    'where' as a conjunction and a relative adverb

    1. This is the hospital where I was born.

    2. Put it back where you found it.

    'Where' in sentence 1 is a relative adverb.
    Then, is 'where' in sentence 2 a conjunction or a relative adverb?
    ???

    Thank you so much in advance.
    Last edited by wotcha; 31-Jan-2012 at 20:48.

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: 'where' as a conjunction and a relative adverb

    Relative: 'Put it back [in the place] where you found it'. (There are teachers who would prefer 'in whch' there; I don't.

    b

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    #3

    Re: 'where' as a conjunction and a relative adverb

    Afraid I must disagree with Bob on this: although one could plausibly argue that the second example derives from an ellipted construction in which 'where' figured as a relative adverb, as used independently in this sentence position, it would be judged by most grammarians a conjunction.

    One argument in support of this position would be that, if such a relative adverb to conjunction ellipsis were systematically possible in English, we would expect to be able similarly to expand e.g.

    It happened how these things always happen: suddenly and unexpectedly.

    (with 'how' standing informally for 'as')

    back into

    *It happened (in) the way how these things always happen...
    Last edited by philo2009; 01-Feb-2012 at 05:09.

  3. BobK's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: 'where' as a conjunction and a relative adverb

    So would you call it a conjunction then (the other option we were offered) - I'd really like to know, and so, presumably, would wotcha.

    b

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    #5

    Re: 'where' as a conjunction and a relative adverb

    Yes, I most certainly would!

  4. 5jj's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: 'where' as a conjunction and a relative adverb

    Traditional grammar tells us:

    Interrogative adverb:
    Where have they gone?
    When do you expect them to leave?
    Ask him where he lives.
    I do not know when he will come

    Relative Adverb:
    This is the house where I live.
    I shall always remember the day when we first met.

    Subordinating conjunction:
    Put the milk where the cat cannot get at it.
    Come when you like.

    Last example from COD (1999). All other examples from
    Wood, Frederick T (1954) The Groundwork of English Grammar, London: Macmillan

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