mailing list For webmasters
Welcome Guest
It was the first time that/when/x Options
raymondaliasapollyon
Posted: Thursday, July 8, 2021 4:24:39 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/14/2020
Posts: 583
Neurons: 3,485
Hi,

In the following sentence, can "when" be used? ("x" means nothing in that spot.)

It was the first time that/when/x Peter had seen a black horse.


I'd appreciate your help.
FounDit
Posted: Thursday, July 8, 2021 10:43:49 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 16,392
Neurons: 78,627
raymondaliasapollyon wrote:
Hi,

In the following sentence, can "when" be used? ("x" means nothing in that spot.)

It was the first time that/when/x Peter had seen a black horse.


I'd appreciate your help.


No. In this sentence, the word, "that", indicates the occurrence/event of seeing the horse. Seeing the horse was the first time "that" happened.

So seeing the black horse is an event, an occurrence. This is what the word "that" is referring to, the event, not the time.

If you said, "When he saw the black horse, that was the first time he did so", then it would work because you are pointing to the time "that" event happened.

I hope that's not confusing.
Clyde of Oz
Posted: Thursday, July 8, 2021 6:43:32 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 12/22/2014
Posts: 488
Neurons: 6,654
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Also 'nothing' (x) is OK here.
Audiendus
Posted: Thursday, July 8, 2021 9:06:35 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 8/24/2011
Posts: 7,600
Neurons: 1,417,344
Location: London, England, United Kingdom
I agree that it should be either 'that' or nothing, not 'when'. However:

FounDit wrote:
No. In this sentence, the word, "that", indicates the occurrence/event of seeing the horse. Seeing the horse was the first time "that" happened.

So seeing the black horse is an event, an occurrence. This is what the word "that" is referring to, the event, not the time.

If you said, "When he saw the black horse, that was the first time he did so", then it would work because you are pointing to the time "that" event happened.

I don't think this is quite right. In "It was the first time that Peter had seen a black horse", 'that' is a conjunction, not a demonstrative pronoun. The subject of the second clause is "Peter", not "that". The "that" would not be stressed in speech.
FounDit
Posted: Friday, July 9, 2021 7:49:51 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 16,392
Neurons: 78,627
Audiendus wrote:
I agree that it should be either 'that' or nothing, not 'when'. However:

FounDit wrote:
No. In this sentence, the word, "that", indicates the occurrence/event of seeing the horse. Seeing the horse was the first time "that" happened.

So seeing the black horse is an event, an occurrence. This is what the word "that" is referring to, the event, not the time.

If you said, "When he saw the black horse, that was the first time he did so", then it would work because you are pointing to the time "that" event happened.

I don't think this is quite right. In "It was the first time that Peter had seen a black horse", 'that' is a conjunction, not a demonstrative pronoun. The subject of the second clause is "Peter", not "that". The "that" would not be stressed in speech.


You are probably right. I'm not a grammar expert, so I yield to your knowledge on this.
Bathcoup
Posted: Saturday, July 17, 2021 6:26:57 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/24/2021
Posts: 181
Neurons: 2,315
Audiendus wrote:
I agree that it should be either 'that' or nothing, not 'when'. However:

I don't think this is quite right. In "It was the first time that Peter had seen a black horse", 'that' is a conjunction, not a demonstrative pronoun. The subject of the second clause is "Peter", not "that". The "that" would not be stressed in speech.
--------------------------

Are you sure the "that" is a conjunction?

It was the first time that Peter had seen a black horse.

It looks like a relative-pronoun; the that-clause defines what kind of "first time" is.
The "It" refers to the seeing of a black horse, which took place some time ago.

With my limited grammar knowledge, I don't even know in what situation "that" is a conjunction.

"It is true that Russia is a big country."
It (dummy) = that-clause, which doesn't define anything. So, I guess, here the "that" is a conjunction.
Audiendus
Posted: Saturday, July 17, 2021 10:18:37 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 8/24/2011
Posts: 7,600
Neurons: 1,417,344
Location: London, England, United Kingdom
Bathcoup wrote:
Are you sure the "that" is a conjunction?

It was the first time that Peter had seen a black horse.

It looks like a relative-pronoun; the that-clause defines what kind of "first time" is. No, the that-clause complements (i.e. completes the meaning of) "first time", but it does not define the kind of first time (there is no other kind of "first time" in question here).

The "It" refers to the seeing of a black horse, which took place some time ago. I would call the "it" a dummy here.

With my limited grammar knowledge, I don't even know in what situation "that" is a conjunction.

The "that" is definitely a conjunction.

If it were a relative pronoun, it would be the subject or object of the clause that follows it. Here it is not; "Peter" is the subject and "a black horse" is the object. "That" is a relative pronoun in the following sentences:

1. It is the first time that counts, not the second time. ["that" is the subject of "counts"]
2. I have won a prize many times, but it is the first time that I remember most vividly. ["that" is the object of "remember"]

Of course, if "that Peter" meant "that Peter" (as opposed to a different Peter}, then "that" would be a demonstrative pronoun. But that is presumably not the intended meaning.
Bathcoup
Posted: Saturday, July 24, 2021 5:29:06 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/24/2021
Posts: 181
Neurons: 2,315
Peter can have many first times – first-time experiences.

This is the first time [that] Peter has watched a movie. (“This” refers to going to cinema)
Kissing Kate was the first time [that] Peter had kissed a girl.

[that] means "that" being optional, but we keep “that” for the discussion. Let's assume Peter was with Tom, and both saw a black horse, a racehorse.

It was the first time that Peter had seen a black horse, and the second time that Tom had seen one (a black horse).

It was the first time that Peter and Tom had seen a black racehorse. – the black horse Tom saw at an earlier time wasn’t a racehorse

I don’t have a view on what name should be given to the that-clause, but to me it defines/describes/qualifies a type of event/occasion. The basic form is “XYZ is the nth time that someone sees a black horse”.

the nth time = the nth-time occurrence of that type of occasion

I was sloppy in using the phrase `relative pronoun`; what I had in mind is a more general concept like “relative marker” (Maybe it should be called “relative proform” and then “antecedent” be termed “co-form”).

the reason [that] I did it …
the year [that] Galileo died …


If you call the "it" a dummy, then the master can't be the that-clause. For “That Peter had seen a black horse was the first time” doesn’t read well.
Audiendus
Posted: Sunday, July 25, 2021 12:32:46 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 8/24/2011
Posts: 7,600
Neurons: 1,417,344
Location: London, England, United Kingdom
I think we are basically in agreement.

Bathcoup wrote:
If you call the "it" a dummy, then the master can't be the that-clause. For “That Peter had seen a black horse was the first time” doesn’t read well.

I see it as meaning something like "The event in question was the first time..."
Bathcoup
Posted: Monday, July 26, 2021 5:44:50 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/24/2021
Posts: 181
Neurons: 2,315
Audiendus, I did a bit reading on Relative Clause. You are not the only person to call the "that" a conjunction. Some linguists come up a terrific name "relativizer"! Now I understand why you use the term "the that-clause complements", just another way of calling the same thing. Thanks.
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.