[Grammar] What surprised the scientists was that the way the gas reacted.

newkeenlearner

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Hi,
Can I ask which of the sentences correct? It seems to me that both of them are correct.

What surprised the scientists was the way the gas reacted.

What surprised the scientists was that the way the gas reacted.

Than you.
 

GoesStation

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Only the first is correct. The word "that" makes the second incorrect.
 

Oll Korrect

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The phrase "the way the gas reacted" functions like a noun. You can move it around just like a regular noun: The way the gas reacted surprised the scientists.

So look at what happens if you replace that noun phrase, the way the gas reacted, with a "normal" noun, the explosion:

"What surprised the scientists was the explosion."
You'd never say,
"What surprised the scientists was that the explosion."
 

andrewg927

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If you want to use "that", switch it's place:

What surprised the scientists was the way that the gas reacted.
 

GoesStation

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... Its place.
 

andrewg927

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... Its place.

I have read the rule but it is not natural for me to use "its". Very few people I know use "its". Besides, this is an language aspect that is evolving over time. The more people use it, the less likely it will survive.
 

GoesStation

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I have read the rule but it is not natural for me to use "its". Very few people I know use "its". Besides, this is an language aspect that is evolving over time. The more people use it, the less likely it will survive.
The rule is extremely simple: use an apostrophe when it's is a contraction. If you can't replace it's with "it is" or "it has", it's its.

This is a forum for teaching English. Learners should learn and apply this simple rule even if large numbers of native speakers can't manage it. :)
 

andrewg927

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More than the number of fingers on your hands.
 

Raymott

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I have read the rule but it is not natural for me to use "its". Very few people I know use "its".
Can you quote a book, or news article from a good source, or a novel, or a noted author that doesn't use 'its' where it's warranted?
 

andrewg927

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Can you quote a book, or news article from a good source, or a novel, or a noted author that doesn't use 'its' where it's warranted?

I was talking about people I personally know. In all fairness, I don't pay that much attention to whether they use "its" or "it's" so maybe people use "its" more than I know. Personally, I just see "it's" more frequently than I do "its".
 

andrewg927

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Are you presenting that sentence as an example of your idea of logic?

That's what frequently happens to languages. I am seeing a trend that replaces "if I had not been/had not done something" with "If I did not do" as much as possible. Who knows 10 years from now, maybe no one would consider "its" is accurate anymore. As it stands, I understand English learners need to use "its" when it is appropriate if they want to pass their English exams.
 

Raymott

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In all fairness, I don't pay that much attention to whether they use "its" or "it's" so maybe people use "its" more than I know. Personally, I just see "it's" more frequently than I do "its".
Without being rude, I'd like to suggest that you might be seeing "it's" more often than it actually appears.
 
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