2

"What I feel more important is for you to go home right now."

"What I feel is more important is for you to go home right now."

Which sentence is correct? Also, is there a rule that is being followed here? I am pretty sure I've heard people use the first form. Is that a slang? or is the "is" in the second sentence redundant?

3

For a speaker of British English, the correct sentence is definitely the second. I have never heard the first sentence spoken, find it quite jarring to read, and have tried and failed to think of any context (slang or otherwise) in which it wouldn't sound totally wrong.

  • As a US English speaker I agree, but I'm not able to articulate what exactly is wrong with the first one. – Curtis H. Mar 20 '14 at 16:24
  • Nor can I. I think it's because in the first sentence the object of 'feel' is essentially an adjective, and as far as I know the only word which can take an adjective as its object is 'to be', hence the 'is'. However, I don't know much about grammar and linguistics, and so am reluctant to suggest this in my actual answer, as it's just a guess. – 568ml Mar 20 '14 at 16:27
  • I thought so too. Just haven't been able to tell why the first isn't right. I think its the "I feel more important" part which doesn't sound communication that subtly changes the meaning of the sentence. – Novelcause Mar 20 '14 at 16:36
1

In American English, the second is the correct and idiomatic sentence. The first is wrong. You could say the first if you dropped "what" from it, which would require twisting the sentence a little bit. For example,

I feel more important when I am with her.

1

How about the following:

"To me, what is more important is that you go home now."

Or,

"That you go home now is more important to me [than ____ ]."

Or,

"I feel it is more important for you to go home now."

Or,

"I think your going home is more important than ____."

Or,

"What I feel to be more important is that you go home now."

0

The reason why the first sentence "What I feel more important is for you to go home right now" appears ungrammatical is quite complex and has to do with the expletive (or dummy) it and cleft sentences.

The expletive it has the function of anticipating what follows:

I find it useful to take notes while reading.

I believe it necessary that I know who I'm talking to.

I think it important for you to go now.

If you wish to emphasise what you find useful, important, etc., you can make a cleft sentence as follows:

What I find useful is to take notes while reading.

What I believe necessary is that I know who I'm talking to.

What I think important is for you to go now.

On this basis, the OP's cleft sentence is derived from the sentence:

I feel it more important for you to go home right now.

But for me, the expletive it does not sound right with feel, and hence the cleft sentence based on it also does not sound right. The more usual starting point would be:

I feel (that) it is more important for you to go home right now

resulting in the cleft sentence (and second OP example):

What I feel is more important is for you to go home right now.

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