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  1. Senior Member
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    #1

    In what has become one of...

    Dear all,

    The following is a part of a passgae from a book titled "Hands".

    ...The hand, symbol of human agency and ownership, is also a part of ourselves that escapes us. In what has become one of the most successful cultural products of all time, Disney's Frozen explores the dilemma of a girl whose hands do things ...

    What is the meaning of the phrase in bold? Does "In" mean "among" in this case?

    OP

  2. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: In what has become one of...

    Quote Originally Posted by optimistic pessimist View Post
    Dear all,

    The following is a part of a passage from a book en
    titled "Hands".

    ...The hand, symbol of human agency and ownership, is also a part of ourselves that escapes us. In what has become one of the most successful cultural products of all time, Disney's Frozen explores the dilemma of a girl whose hands do things ...

    What is the meaning of the phrase in bold? Does "In" mean "among" in this case?

    OP
    Good question!

    No, it doesn't mean among (although that was a good guess).

    The movie Frozen has become one of the most succesful cultural products of all time.

    So the phrase "what has become . . . all time" refers to Frozen. You could rephrase it as "In Frozen, Disney expores the dilemma . . . ."

    You're probably having trouble with the use of the word what.

    We often use it in exactly that way. More examples:
    - In what might be the planet's hottest year, we're also seeing record snowfalls. (Here, what refers to this year.)

    - For what seemed like hours, he waited for someone to bring lunch. (The time he waited seemed like hours.)

    - To what she believed was her fan base, she sent tweets daily. (She sent tweets to the people she thought were her fan base.)

    When you see a preposition before what, it's likely that it's this kind of phrase. There's probably a name for it, but I'm not a grammarian. Maybe someone else here can tell you more.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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