It is a conjunction according to definition#1 at www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/that_2
Student or Learner
NEW DELHI: BJP leader Navjot Singh Sidhu on Monday resigned from Rajya Sabha amid rising speculation that he could join the Aam Aadmi Party.
The paragraph(news) is from the Times of India. What is the grammatical function of 'that' here? Does it modify "speculation " in the sentence?
Last edited by emsr2d2; 18-Jul-2016 at 13:53. Reason: Enlarged font and removed unnecessary hyperlinks
I have found some information that may interest you.
1. According to one of my books, the word "that" would NOT modify "speculation."
2. You could delete (drop) "that" without affecting the meaning of the sentence.
3. "That" has NO role except to link the two clauses ("He resigned amid rising speculation" and "he could join the AA Party.")
4. Many grammarians feel that "he could join the AA Party" is a noun clause in apposition with "speculation."
5. If you (mentally) rearrange the sentence, maybe everything will become clearer. Maybe something like:
"Rising speculation greeted his resignation."
"Rising speculation (that) he could join the AA Party greeted his resignation."
You can see that the clause "he could join the AA Party" is a noun clause in apposition with "speculation." That is to say, "he could join the AA Party" is the speculation that people are talking about.
My book tells me that some people might want to call "(that) he could join the AA Party" an adjective clause, but remember: "that" has NO grammatical function in "he could join the AA Party." So it is NOT a relative pronoun. As Mr. Wai told us, many books suggest calling it a subordinating conjunction.
My source: Paul Roberts, Understanding Grammar (1954).