2

I have the following sentence:

That these skills are transferable makes them especially beneficial.

My question is “simple”: Why makes? (Of course, because of that.) But, does that mean something – the fact? Can we put that in other places in this sentence?

closed as off-topic by Scott, Helmar, curiousdannii, Chenmunka, Mitch Oct 10 '16 at 13:04

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    Yes, in this case read "that" as "the fact that". – John Feltz Oct 7 '16 at 20:00
  • @JohnFeltz , I really appreciate your help! – Kamran Oct 7 '16 at 20:07
  • 1
    Only if you split the sentence in two: "These skills are transferable. That makes them especially beneficial." or join them with "and" as "These skills are transferable and that makes them especially beneficial." But it degrades the expressive skills of the speaker. – Bekim Bacaj Oct 8 '16 at 9:41
3

Let’s first distentangle that sentence:

  • That these skills are transferable is a noun clause and the subject of the main sentence.
  • makes is the verb.
  • them refers to these skills and is the object.
  • especially beneficial is an predicative adjective referring to them.

Now to your questions:

Why makes? (Of course, because of that.)

Actually, it’s not because of that – at least not in the way you probably think it is. That is a conjunction marking the beginning of a noun clause. That that is identical to a pronoun is the nature of the English language is something that you have to live with. There are languages related to English that allow for analogous structures but have a distinct word for this purpose (e.g., German has dass).

That makes has a singular s is plainly due to the fact that noun clauses are treated as singular by the English grammar.

But, does that mean something – the fact?

That is a conjunction and has a grammatical function here, i.e., it informs the reader about the grammatical structure of the sentence. It has no real meaning of its own, e.g., it could not be easily translated to an arbitrary other language (though analogues exist in other languages with a similar grammar, e.g., the German dass).

That being said, you can replace that with the fact that, the circumstance that, the concept that, or something similar in such a situation to approximate the meaning of the sentence or as a help to understand it. Note, however, that neither of these choices is accurate in every context, e.g., the noun clause does not need to describe a fact.

Can we put that in other places in this sentence?

No. English grammar demands that conjunctions are located at the beginning of dependent clauses. You may not even move the noun clause (at least without further modifications) as it is the subject and these have to be at the beginning of a sentence. What you can do is using it as a “placeholder” (expletive) for the noun clause and move it to the end of the sentence:

It makes these skills especially beneficial that they are transferable.

Note that this shifts the emphasis of the sentence.

  • WOW! How explained answer have been given! Thanks everybody! BEST of BEST! – Kamran Oct 16 '16 at 16:54
  • 1
    @Kamran: If you think that this answer solved your problem, please consider accepting and upvoting it. – Wrzlprmft Oct 16 '16 at 18:08
-3

'That' is the subject in your sentence. Changing its place is not possible without altering its semantic structure.

In the perspective of:

That these skills are transferable makes them especially beneficial.

as a sentence, if you were to dispense of that you'd obtain:

These skills are transferable makes them especially beneficial,

which does not parse.

On the other hand, omitting these skills are transferable parses the following sentence:

That makes them especially beneficial.

Therefore, that is indispensable in the particular layout of this sentence. You could move that around, but moving the subject to become an object in any sentence will require the transformation from a transitive verbal form as well.

Also, the subject always conjugates the verb, or the verb is always conjugated by the subject, either way, that makeS a big difference, and is an important clue, when searching to identify the subject in this sentence. I personally ( as it seems so) consider conjugation, when it is available, to constitute irrefutable evidence. When the INDISPENSABLE word that conjugates ( NO! STOP! A COMMON MISTAKE IS TO USE 'THAT' INSTEAD OF USING A GERUNDIVE) conjugating the verb is identified, it becomes the only sun the rest of my sentence orbits around.

  • How does " This does not provide an answer to the question" provides an answer to anything either? – Specialist Dec 11 '17 at 20:02
  • THAT IS THE SUBJECT IN THIS SENTENCE ABOVE, JUST LIKE THIS IS THE SUBJECT IN YOUR SENTENCE. THIS AN THAT ARE CRUCIAL ELEMENTS WHEN USED IN ANY SENTENCE. THEY ARE ALWAYS INDISPENSABLE SUBJECTS PRONOUNS WHEN THEY ARE NOT USE AS DEMONSTRATIVE ARTICLES. – Specialist Dec 11 '17 at 20:04
  • I KNOW CONCEPTIVELY THAT'S UNIQUE GRAMMATICAL FUNCTION IS TOUGH TO UNDERSTAND TO MOST ENGLISH NATIVE SPEAKERS – Specialist Dec 11 '17 at 20:06
  • This answer is an answer to the question. I disagree with the answer, but it's an answer. "That" is not the subject of the sentence. The subject of the sentence is the entire that-clause: "that these skills are transferable". – MetaEd Dec 11 '17 at 21:03
  • May I suggest you avoid ALL-CAPS, because it gives the impression you are shouting. – MetaEd Dec 11 '17 at 21:04

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.