The Free Dictionary  
mailing list For webmasters
Welcome Guest Forum Search | Active Topics | Members

It was no surprise to anyone when they ... Options
onsen
Posted: Thursday, October 10, 2019 9:33:33 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/14/2017
Posts: 481
Neurons: 6,476
Hello,

Quote:

It was no surprise to anyone when they finally said that they were getting a divorce.
(Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary)


Does the 'It' mean the when-clause?
If it does, why is a when-clause used, but not a that-clause?


Thank you.
FounDit
Posted: Thursday, October 10, 2019 3:31:52 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 11,823
Neurons: 59,150
onsen wrote:
Hello,

Quote:

It was no surprise to anyone when they finally said that they were getting a divorce.
(Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary)


Does the 'It' mean the when-clause?
If it does, why is a when-clause used, but not a that-clause?

Thank you.


Logically, "It" should mean the divorce. The divorce (It) was no surprise to anyone. But was it no surprise "when" they said they were getting one, or was it no surprise "that" they said it?

"that" and "when" occur at the same time, so it isn't the time that is a surprise, but the information "that" was said. So it appears "that" should be used rather than "when".

This would make the sentence, "It was no surprise to anyone that they finally said they were getting a divorce."




We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
Clyde of Oz
Posted: Thursday, October 10, 2019 5:55:49 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 12/22/2014
Posts: 156
Neurons: 3,661
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Considering that the sentence:

It was no surprise to anyone.

stands perfectly well by itself, it seems to me that the when version and the that version are equally acceptable.


“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” ― Carl Sagan
Users browsing this topic
Guest


Forum Jump
You cannot post new topics in this forum.
You cannot reply to topics in this forum.
You cannot delete your posts in this forum.
You cannot edit your posts in this forum.
You cannot create polls in this forum.
You cannot vote in polls in this forum.

Main Forum RSS : RSS
Forum Terms and Guidelines | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2008-2019 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.