Using 'that'

My student has asked me why in the two sentences below the first sentence requires ‘that’ but the second does not.

A little investigation tells me that both sentences are complex sentences requiring either a subordinator (because, since, after, up to, etc) or a relative pronoun (this, that, who, which).

What would you add to this to help the student? I’ve got enough to talk it through with her but I’m curious what others might say.

Here are the sentences. Apologies, the language itself is a bit technical.

“The clinical variables that showed significant Pearson correlation coefficients (with a false positive rate controlled at α=.1) were entered into the multiple regression analyses”

“Up to the present most studies have been limited to a comparison between macrostructural corpus callousness (CC) morphology expressed by total or sub regional CC size and CC function.”

The first sentence includes a relative clause “that showed significant Pearson correlation coefficients” where that (or “which”) can’t be omitted.

The second doesn’t.

This might help clarify things; in the first sentence the subject is “The clinical variables that showed significant Pearson correlation coefficients (with a false positive rate controlled at α=.1)”. The whole phrase refers to one type of variable.

In the second sentence the subject is simply “most studies.”

Or is your question why there’s no “that” before “expressed by total or sub regional CC size”? A relative pronoun can often be omitted along with “be” before a participle or prepositional phrase. That is a relative clause so I stand corrected by myself :slight_smile:

I assume you’re asking, why we don’t say “Up to the present most studies that have been limited to a comparison between …”?

Is the second sentence even a complex sentence? I forget what that technically means. There isn’t really a second verb: OK, “expressed”, but that may not make it a complex sentence.

First sentence: “The ones that were different were used.” You’ve got a subordinate clause in the middle, and hence need “that”.

Second sentence: “Most studies have been limited to this.” There’s only one verb to worry about: no subordinate clauses. If you add a “that”, then you suddenly don’t have a main verb: “Most studies that have been limited to this” … and? You’d need something like “Most studies that have been limited to this have been accepted.”

And, I see Tempo Gain has put it more clearly than I have.

The second sentence could be written with that as above, but it is optional.

Thanks for the replies. All help me think it through. This is good.

[quote=“Tempo Gain”]
Or is your question why there’s no “that” before “expressed by total or sub regional CC size”? A relative pronoun can often be omitted along with “be” before a participle or prepositional phrase. That is a relative clause so I stand corrected by myself :slight_smile:[/quote]

In regard to adding ‘that is’ to the second sentence before ‘expressed’, It doesn’t feel right to me. It seems to lay the emphasis on a comparison between ‘total or sub regional CC size’ on the one hand, and ‘CC function’ on the other. I think the comparison is actually across variables within, ‘total or sub regional CC size and CC function’, taken as a single group/range of items for study.

I’d also add that these sort of sentences taken out of context can quickly fry the brain.

lol, indeed. I assumed the comparison was between “macrostructural corpus callousness (CC) morphology expressed by total or sub regional CC size” on one hand and “CC function” on the other. If not, I don’t think it’s well worded.

No, on another read, I think you’re right.

I think CC size and CC function go together on a total or sub regional scale.

[quote=“Dial”]
“The clinical variables that showed significant Pearson correlation coefficients (with a false positive rate controlled at α=.1) were entered into the multiple regression analyses”

“Up to the present most studies have been limited to a comparison between macrostructural corpus callousness (CC) morphology expressed by total or sub regional CC size and CC function.”[/quote]

my take.

The first sentence’s original form is:
The clinical variables were entered into the multiple regression analyses.

which is the same as the second sentence.

If you rewrite the second sentence to:
“Up to the present most studies that made any sense have been limited to a comparison between macrostructural corpus callousness (CC) morphology expressed by total or sub regional CC size and CC function.”

then you need “that” back… no clue how to explain it…

Isn’t it “corpus callosum”?

I think so. It therefore should be “corpus callosal morphology”.

My thoughts exactly. :thumbsup:

Both sentences contain relative clauses:

“The clinical variables that showed significant Pearson correlation coefficients (with a false positive rate controlled at α=.1) were entered into the multiple regression analyses”

“Up to the present most studies have been limited to a comparison between macrostructural corpus callousness (CC) morphology expressed by total or sub regional CC size and CC function.

In the first sentence the relative pronoun cannot be omitted because it is the subject of the relative clause.

To demonstrate what I mean, we can say:

              I poured the drink that tasted good.

But never:
I poured the drink tasted good.

Why? Because the relative pronoun is the subject of the relative clause.

But I can choose to omit the relative pronoun here:

              I poured the drink (that) the man drank.

This is because it is ‘the man’ is the subject of the clause.

The second sentence is a bit more difficult to explain and I had to do some research here.

It could read thus:

“Up to the present most studies have been limited to a comparison between macrostructural corpus callousness (CC) morphology which are expressed by total or sub regional CC size and CC function.”

This, I believe is an example of a “reduced object relative passive clause”.

The noun being modified here “macrostructural corpus callousness (CC) morphology” is the direct object of the relative clause and the relative clause is in the passive voice. The relative pronoun, therefore, can be omitted.

Up above, half-bunk! You cannot have elliptical relativizers (like “that”) for relative clauses when the verb is conjugated for tense, and not just aspect, and the first argument noun phrase of the sentence substitutes for the relativizer. Otherwise, people will confuse it for the head verb of the main sentence.

Observe:

a.) The man drinking the water was refreshed. (i.e. “drinking” only expresses the progressive aspect, and [color=#0000FF]“who was”[/color] is elliptical for that sentence.)
b.) *The man was drinking the water was refreshed ([color=#FF0000]This sentence is ungrammatical, because the verb “was” conjugates for tense.[/color])
c.) The man who was drinking the water was refreshed. (This corrects (b) with the explicit relativizer.)

Per this example, and in this very sentence exemplifying it, the proposition [which is] expressed in (a) is the same as that [which is] expressed in ©.

I used a different relativizer (or rather, two) to show that it applies for more than just “that”.

The bunk is that “relative pronoun” is folk-theoretic. We get relativizers, complementizers, nominalizers, coordinators, and correlatives. Relativizers like “where,” “when,” “how” etc. substitute for adverb phrases more often than they do for noun phrases.

I think so. It therefore should be “corpus callosal morphology”.[/quote]

Sounds right to me, too. My student informs me, however, that this sentence comes straight from the peer reviewed and edited pages of ‘Reviews in the Neurosciences’. It was written by a german however…

And to the rest of this thread: Oy vey! It’s going to be work to provide a simple and clear answer to the student.

[quote=“ehophi”]Up above, half-bunk! You cannot have elliptical relativizers (like “that”) for relative clauses when the verb is conjugated for tense, and not just aspect, and the first argument noun phrase of the sentence substitutes for the relativizer. Otherwise, people will confuse it for the head verb of the main sentence.

Observe:

a.) The man drinking the water was refreshed. (i.e. “drinking” only expresses the progressive aspect, and [color=#0000FF]“who was”[/color] is elliptical for that sentence.)
b.) *The man was drinking the water was refreshed ([color=#FF0000]This sentence is ungrammatical, because the verb “was” conjugates for tense.[/color])
c.) The man who was drinking the water was refreshed. (This corrects (b) with the explicit relativizer.)

Per this example, and in this very sentence exemplifying it, the proposition [which is] expressed in (a) is the same as that [which is] expressed in (c).

I used a different relativizer (or rather, two) to show that it applies for more than just “that”.

The bunk is that “relative pronoun” is folk-theoretic. We get relativizers, complementizers, nominalizers, coordinators, and correlatives. Relativizers like “where,” “when,” “how” etc. substitute for adverb phrases more often than they do for noun phrases.[/quote]

I am not sure that it has anything to do with verbs being conjugated for tense. In your example:

[quote]a.) The man drinking the water was refreshed. (i.e. “drinking” only expresses the progressive aspect, and [color=#0000FF]“who was”[/color] is elliptical for that sentence.)
b.) *The man was drinking the water was refreshed ([color=#FF0000]This sentence is ungrammatical, because the verb “was” conjugates for tense.[/color])
c.) The man who was drinking the water was refreshed. (This corrects (b) with the explicit relativizer.)
[/quote]

The reason why c. is correct and b. incorrect is that the relative pronoun ‘who’ (which is the subject of the relative clause) needs the appropriate form of the verb ‘to be’ to link it to the complement of the relative clause ‘drinking water’. They are inseparable. For the same reason you couldn’t have :
d.) The man [color=#FF0000]who[/color] drinking water was refreshed.
You either include both of them or leave both of them out.

The same goes for the passive:

The water [color=#0000FF](which was[/color]) drunk by the man was contaminated.

but not,

The water [color=#FF0000]was[/color] drunk by the man was contaminated.

And for the perfect:

The water ([color=#0000FF]that had been[/color]) drunk by the man was contaminated.

but not,

The water[color=#FF0000] had been drunk[/color] by the man was contaminated.

For me, the whole point of this discussion is why sometimes you have to include the relative pronoun and why sometimes you can leave it out.

In the OP’s first sentence the relative pronoun ‘that’ cannot be elided. If you get rid of the relative pronoun, the head noun in the main clause has to be able to become the subject of the relative clause and in his first example it can’t UNLESS you change it into a participial relative clause. For e.g.:

“The clinical variables [color=#0000FF]showing[/color] significant Pearson correlation coefficients (with a false positive rate controlled at α=.1) were entered into the multiple regression analyses”

But if you leave the verb as it was ‘showed’ then you can’t remove the relative pronoun. "Showed’ needs a subject and in this case it can’t be the head noun in the main clause.

Does that make any sense or am I talking in circles? :ponder: The more I consider this kind of question, the more I start to doubt my own understanding. Perhaps we are just looking at it from different angles.

That mostly gets the point but misses it a bit. The key is that the relative pronoun AND “be” verb can be left out. You can say “the clinical variables that ARE showing…”, so the “that are” can be left out. You can’t say “the clinical variables that ARE showed…”.

No, it’s not circular reasoning. It’s missing a premise, namely that for passive voices in English (and other European languages), the lexical verb (i.e. the one giving most of the meaning) is in the perfect aspect, not the past tense. In your examples, the verbs “had” and “was” are conjugated for the past tense.

I’ll just give the Spanish one to show how it works in other languages:

4.) El agua que fue bebido por el hombre fue contaminada.

Here, note that “bebido” (“drunk”) is in the perfect aspect. The past tense (pretérito) conjugations for “beber” (“to drink”) are different.

It’s just that, in English, past tense conjugations and perfect aspect conjugations look alike.

We do come from very different perspectives, but not on the front above.

Our differences are more like this: We use ordered n-tuples to establish propositional meaning, and in English, we call the first noun phrase argument of that n-tuple the “subject,” but there’s nothing further to it. So, for P(a,b) (anything from “John pays taxes,” to, “The corpus callosum occupies the brain.”), P is the predicate, a is the first argument (“subject”) and b is the second argument (“object”). In light of this, calling things “subjects” and “objects” invites needless confusion when we can put formal precision to these ideas.

“The clinical variables that showed significant Pearson correlation coefficients (with a false positive rate controlled at α=.1) were entered into the multiple regression analyses”

“Up to the present most studies have been limited to a comparison between macrostructural corpus callousness (CC) morphology expressed by total or sub regional CC size and CC function.”[/quote]

Hi,
this may have already been answered for you and apologies as I didn’t follow all the threads attached to your posting but here’s a general rule of using ‘that’ or ‘which’.

In the first sentence ’ that showed significant pearson correlation coefficients ( …)’ describes the subject ’ the clinical variables’ of the sentence. Thus, you need to follow that with a verb ’ were entered’ - here it’s the passive voice. The easiest way to check if it is the case, simply remove the clause that describes the subject, i.e. ‘that showed significant Pearson correlation coefficients (with a false positive rate controlled at α=.1)’. It still makes sense to say:
The clinical variables were entered into the multiple regression analyses.

In the second sentence ‘that’ or ‘which’ aren’t possible as ‘most studies’ serve as the subject and have been limited ( present perfect passive voice) serve as the verb.
If you inserted ‘that’ into the sentence, the meaning would suggest that many studies have been conducted but we are only looking into those related to the comparison between macrostructural corpus … Plus, you would need to insert a verb after ’ and CC function’.

A little complicated as it may look, it’s actually very easy to follow:

Sentence 1

Subject + relative clause/ descriptive clause + verb + remaining information.
“The clinical variables + that showed significant Pearson correlation coefficients (with a false positive rate controlled at α=.1)+ were entered into the multiple regression analyses”

Sentence 2
Adverb of time +Subject + object + remaining information.
“Up to the present + most studies + have been limited +to a comparison between macrostructural corpus callousness (CC) morphology expressed by total or sub regional CC size and CC function.”

Hope that helps
tom