previous next


PRONOUNS, RELATIVE AND INTERROGATIVE. Relative omitted

Omission of the Relative. The relative is frequently omitted, especially where the antecedent clause is emphatic and evidently incomplete. This omission of the relative may in part have been suggested by the identity of the demonstrative that and the relative that:--
We speak that (dem.) that (rel.) we do know,
may naturally be contracted into--
We speak that we do know.
Thus--

“And that (that) most deeply to consider is
The beauty of his daughter.

“Thy honourable metal may be wrought
From that (to which) it is disposed.

“Now follows that (that) you know, young Fortinbras, &c.

“And that (that) is worse--the Lords of Ross are fled.

i.e. "which is worse." So often in the A. V. of the Bible, "that is, being interpreted," means "which is" (as the Greek shows), though a modern reader would suppose that to be the demonstrative.

In many cases the antecedent immediately precedes the verb to which the relative would be the subject.

“I have a brother (who) is condemned to die.

; C. of E. v. 1. 283.

“I have a mind (which) presages.

“The hate of those (who) love not the king.

“In war was never lion (that) raged more fierce.” Ib. ii. 1. 173.

“And sue a friend (who) 'came debtor for my sake.

“What wreck discern you in me (that
Deserves your pity?

; W. T. iv. 4. 378, 512.

“You are one of those (who
Would have him wed again.

“I'll show you those (who) in troubles reign,
Losing a mite, a mountain gain.

“Of all (who have) 'say'd (tried) yet, may'st thou prove prosperous.

“And they are envious (that) term thee parasite.” B. J. Fox, i. 1.

“For once (when) we stood up about the corn, he himself stuck
not to call us the many-headed multitude.

i.e. "On one occasion (on which) we stood up," &c. Compare--

“Was it not yesterday (on which) we spoke together?

“Off with his head,
And rear it in the place (in which) your father's stands.

“Declare the cause
(for which) My father, Earl of Cambridge, lost his head.

“O that forc'd thunder (that) from his breath did fly!
O that sad breath (that) his spongy lungs bestow'd!

“And being frank she lends to these (who) are free.

So explain:

“To me (whom) you cannot reach you play the spaniel.

“That's to you sworn (that) to none was ever said.

So M. for M. iii. 2. 165.

Most of these examples (except those in which when and why are omitted) omit the nominative. Modern usage confines the omission mostly to the objective. "A man (whom) I saw yesterday told me," &c. We must either explain thus:

“Myself and Toby
Set this device against Malvolio here (which device),
Upon some stubborn and discourteous parts,
We had conceiv'd against him,

or suppose (more probably), that there is some confusion between "conceiving enmity" and "disliking parts."

In

“To her own worth
She shall be prized: but that you say 'Be 't so,'
I'll speak it in my spirit and honour 'No.'

that probably means "as to that which."

Other instances are:

“My sister . . . a lady, sir (who), though it was said she much
resembled me, was yet of many accounted beautiful.

“What should I do (that) I do not?

“Of every virtue (that) gives renown to men.

Either a relative or a nominative (see 399) is omitted in

“These are my mates that make their wills their law
(Who) have some unhappy passenger in chace.

In

“And curse that justice did it,

either the relative is omitted after "justice," or "that" is used for "because" (284).

So, after disobeying King Cymbeline by allowing Posthumus to speak to the King's daughter, the Queen, while purposing to betray Posthumus, says aside:

“Yet I'll move him (the king)
To walk this way: I never do him (the king) wrong
But he (who, like Posthumus) does buy my injuries to be friends,
Pays dear for my offences.

The relative adverb where is omitted in “From that place (where) the morn is broke
To that place (where) day doth unyoke.” B. and F. F. Sh. i. 1.

That, meaning "when," is omitted after "now." (See 284.)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: