Understanding the Usage of “That” and “What” in Grammar
Effective communication relies on a solid understanding of grammar. One area that often confuses language learners is knowing when to use “that” and when to use “what.”, for example, Spanish and Portuguese speakers tend to be confused in a context like this. Here we will dive deep into the usage of these words, exploring their functions and providing examples. Let us sane once and for all the confusion between “that” and “what” understanding.
“That” as a Demonstrative Pronoun
“That” is a versatile word that serves as a demonstrative pronoun, pointing to a specific thing or person. It often introduces a relative clause that provides additional information about the noun it refers to. Consider the example sentence, “I bought a book that I’ve been wanting to read.” In this case, “that” introduces the relative clause that describes the book, specifying which book I purchased. Understanding how “that” functions as a demonstrative pronoun is crucial for constructing precise and descriptive sentences.
“That” as a Conjunction
Apart from its role as a pronoun, “that” also functions as a subordinating conjunction. When used in this way, “that” introduces a subordinate clause, which complements the main clause. For instance, consider the sentence, “I know that you are busy.” Here, “that” introduces the clause that explains the reason for my knowledge. Recognizing the appropriate usage of “that” as a conjunction will help you convey logical relationships and clarify the connections between different parts of a sentence.
“What” as a Relative Pronoun
Conversely, “what” serves as a relative pronoun, introducing a noun clause that functions as the subject or object of a verb. For example, in the sentence, “What you said surprised me,” “what” introduces the noun clause that acts as the subject of the verb “surprised.” By understanding how “what” functions as a relative pronoun, you can effectively introduce additional information or emphasize a particular aspect of a sentence.
“What” as an Interrogative Pronoun
When it comes to posing questions to gather specific information or facts, “what” serves as an interrogative pronoun. For instance, asking, “What is your favorite color?” aims to elicit information about a person’s color preference. By utilizing “what” as an interrogative pronoun appropriately, you can effectively seek clarification or engage in meaningful conversations.
Understanding the nuanced usage of “that” and “what” in grammar empowers you to construct clear and precise sentences, enabling effective communication. While “that” functions as a demonstrative pronoun and a conjunction, “what” serves as a relative pronoun and an interrogative pronoun. By mastering their usage, you can navigate the complexities of grammar with confidence, conveying your thoughts accurately and articulately. Strengthening your grasp of these words will undoubtedly enhance your overall language skills, contributing to your success in both written and spoken communication.