There is nothing more I can ask for.

GoldfishLord

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There is nothing more I can ask for.
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I'd like to know if "that" is omitted between "more" and "I".
 

GoldfishLord

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Nothing is nothing more that I can ask for.

There is nothing more that I can ask for.
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I'd like to know if "that" refers to "nothing more" or "nothing".
 

Charlie Bernstein

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Re: Nothing is nothing more that I can ask for.

There is nothing more that I can ask for.
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I'd like to know if "that" refers to "nothing more" or "nothing".
In your example, that is a conjunction, not a pronoun. It does not refer to anything.
 

5jj

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It looks very much like a relative pronoun to me.
 

GoldfishLord

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Re: Nothing is nothing more that I can ask for.

I'd also like to know if "that I can ask for" is a restrictive relative clause.
 

5jj

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Re: Nothing is nothing more that I can ask for.

I'd also like to know if "that I can ask for" is a restrictive relative clause.
I would say so. that is the prepositional object of for.
 

Charlie Bernstein

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It looks very much like a relative pronoun to me.
Could be. I said conjunction because I found this in the Google dictionary:

conjunction

  • 1.
    introducing a subordinate clause expressing a statement or hypothesis.
    "she said that she was satisfied"

It looked like the same setup to me, but I'm no pro.
 

Phaedrus

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Re: Nothing is nothing more that I can ask for.

There is nothing more that I can ask for.
------------------
I'd like to know if "that" refers to "nothing more" or "nothing".

I'd say that "that" refers to "nothing" and that "more" and "that I can ask for" modify "nothing" separately but conjunctively and restrictively. Compare:

There is nothing that is more that I can ask for.
There is nothing which is more which I can ask for.
There is nothing which is more for which I can ask.

There is nothing that I can ask for that is more.
There is nothing which I can ask for which is more.
There is nothing for which I can ask which is more.
 

PaulMatthews

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Re: Nothing is nothing more that I can ask for.

There is nothing more that I can ask for.
------------------
I'd like to know if "that" refers to "nothing more" or "nothing".


There is [nothing more (that) I can ask for ___ ].

No: that" is not a relative pronoun, but an optional subordinator here, functioning as a marker. It's introducing the relative clause "(that) I can ask for", and is the same "that" which introduces declarative content clauses, cf. "I know that he is that ill".

The relative clause is a modifier in (and hence part of) the nominal "nothing more that I can ask for", functioning as head of the bracketed noun phrase.

The gap notation '___' , indicates the covert presence of the relativised element, functioning in the relative clause as complement of the preposition "for".

We understand that you can ask for nothing more.
 

jutfrank

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Re: Nothing is nothing more that I can ask for.

I'm afraid I properly understand hardly any of post #10, and so I won't be too surprised if the OP doesn't either. I think Paul Matthews seems to be saying that that is not the prepositional object of for, but rather that the prepositional object of for is in some way unarticulated.

Paul, would you mind trying to explain things in a way that learners and English teachers can understand? Remember that we're untrained in syntactic analysis and terminology. Please say more about the "covert presence of the relativised element". Thank you.
 

PaulMatthews

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Re: Nothing is nothing more that I can ask for.

I'm afraid I properly understand hardly any of post #10, and so I won't be too surprised if the OP doesn't either. I think Paul Matthews seems to be saying that that is not the prepositional object of for, but rather that the prepositional object of for is in some way unarticulated.

Paul, would you mind trying to explain things in a way that learners and English teachers can understand? Remember that we're untrained in syntactic analysis and terminology. Please say more about the "covert presence of the relativised element". Thank you.


Of course; no problem.

The ‘relativised element’ (relative word) is the element that is anaphorically linked to an antecedent from which it derives its interpretation. But “that” is a subordinator, not a relative pronoun, so it cannot function as the relativised element. Therefore, in the OP’s example a ‘gap’ ___ is required to indicate the functional position of the missing (covert) relative word, which here is complement (object) of the preposition “for”.

Even if the relative clause were introduced by the relative pronoun “which”, a gap would still be inserted, unless it was subject of the relative clause:

This is the item[SUB]i[/SUB] [that ___ [SUB]i[/SUB] is defective]. ............[immediate subject gap]
This is the item[SUB]i[/SUB] [which[SUB]i[/SUB] is defective]. ................[“which” is subject so no gap required]
This is the item[SUB]i[/SUB] [that/which[SUB]i[/SUB] I ordered ___ [SUB]i[/SUB]]... [object = gap]

Does that help?
 

tzfujimino

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Re: Nothing is nothing more that I can ask for.

Are the 'that's in those sentences above 'subordinators'?
 
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PaulMatthews

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Re: Nothing is nothing more that I can ask for.

Are the 'that's in those sentences above 'subordinators'?

Yes. Traditional grammar and most dictionaries maintain that "that" is a relative pronoun in examples like yours, but modern grammar rightly claims it is a subordinator, the same one that introduces declarative content clauses.

Only one dictionary that I know of correctly gives it as subordinator: https://simple.wiktionary.org/wiki/that
 
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Phaedrus

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Re: Nothing is nothing more that I can ask for.

There is [nothing more (that) I can ask for ___ ].

No: that" is not a relative pronoun, but an optional subordinator here, functioning as a marker. It's introducing the relative clause "(that) I can ask for", and is the same "that" which introduces declarative content clauses, cf. "I know that he is that ill".

"That" is what ESL teachers and learners the world over think of as a relative pronoun, and it is very much different, on the surface, from the "that" in "I know that he is ill," as can be seen by the fact that we can replace "that" with "which" (which no one will deny is a relative pronoun) in the OP's sentence—in which case we can even have pied piping ("There is nothing more which I can ask for" / "There is nothing more for which I can ask")—whereas we cannot replace "that" with "which" in your "I know that he is ill": *[strike]I know which he is ill[/strike].

I'm aware that you can still argue that "that" is not a relative pronoun in the OP's sentence, but then you should include, as part of your argument, that "that" is NEVER a relative pronoun, and I'm afraid that you will have a very hard time convincing ESL teachers and learners of that, since it seems to function as a relative pronoun whenever it can be replaced by a wh-relative pronoun and has been thus described in non-theoretical grammars for centuries. Technically, though, I go along with your subordinator analysis (I'd call it a "complementizer," the head of the relative clause CP [complementizer phrase]).

In "that" relatives, the wh-relative pronoun moves into the Specifier of the CP and gets silenced, allowing "that" to masquerade as a relative pronoun. I fail to see why it would benefit ESL learners to be taught such things. That's why, in Post #9, I didn't call "that" a relative pronoun but allowed my readers to infer, incorrectly, that I think it is a relative pronoun. If it looks like a relative pronoun, acts like a relative pronoun (except in Pied Piping: *[strike]There is nothing more for that I can ask[/strike]), and has been described as one for centuries in traditional grammars, why not let ESL learners believe it is a relative pronoun in such sentences?
 

5jj

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Re: Nothing is nothing more that I can ask for.

Traditional grammar and most dictionaries maintain that "that" is a relative pronoun in examples like yours, but modern grammar rightly claims it is a subordinator, the same one that introduces declarative content clauses.
That (!) is a matter of opinion rather than fact.

All theories about grammar, and especially about labelling, were 'modern' when they first appeared. And all became outdated in time.
 

tzfujimino

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Re: Nothing is nothing more that I can ask for.

Traditional grammar and most dictionaries maintain that "that" is a relative pronoun in examples like yours,
The 'that' in bold is a subordinator that introduces a declarative content clause.
but modern grammar rightly claims (that) it is a subordinator,
Here, it is omitted.
the same one [that gap! introduces declarative content clauses].
Here, it's also a subordinator that introduces a relative clause. (Should it be "a declarative content clause"?)
The gap shows the covert presence of the relativized element. It functions as (a?) subject within the clause.

Only one dictionary [that I know of gap! correctly] gives it as subordinator: https://simple.wiktionary.org/wiki/that
This one is also a subordinator introducing a relative clause. (Is it "a declarative content clause"?)
The gap shows the covert presence of the relativized element. It functions as (a?) complement of the preposition 'of'.

I hope I'm correct.
:)
 
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PaulMatthews

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Re: Nothing is nothing more that I can ask for.

I hope I'm correct.
:)

Yes: I think you are.

Incidentally, there are three major subclasses of finite subordinate clause. 'Content' clauses are considered the default kind, the other two being 'relative' and 'comparative'.
 

TheParser

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Re: Nothing is nothing more that I can ask for.

I'd say that "that" refers to "nothing" and that "more" and "that I can ask for" modify "nothing" separately but conjunctively and restrictively. Compare:

NOT A TEACHER

1. Until I read Phaedrus's post, I did not have the courage to contribute to this thread.

2. Phaedrus's analysis confirms the Reed-Kellogg diagram that I had drawn before I read Phaedrus's post.

3. Even if one does not have any knowledge whatsoever of Reed-Kellogg, one hopefully can understand my explanation. (I am unable to post my diagram.)

a. For the sake of analysis, ignore the word "there."
b. The skeleton (basic sentence) is "Nothing is."
c. "More" modifies "nothing."
d. "I can ask for that" modifies "nothing."
e. Most secondary teachers would, I feel, be satisfied if their students labeled "that" as a relative pronoun.
 
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5jj

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Re: Nothing is nothing more that I can ask for.

[...] “that” is a subordinator, not a relative pronoun, so it cannot function as the relativised element.

That's one assertion without anything to support it.

Here's another:

That can be used as a relative pronoun.
 
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