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I left shortly after I realized that where I was, was the edge of the world.

marked as duplicate by Edwin Ashworth, Community Mar 23 '17 at 11:57

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  • Just noticed this, after my answer (and erased comment)! – Kevin Mark Mar 22 '17 at 12:01
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    @EdwinAshworth Not in this case. The problem here is the comma. The larger contains a fused relative. It just happens to be the case that the relative ends in a verb and - because it is part of the Subject - that verb occurs directly before another verb. "[Where I was] was the edge of the world". – Araucaria Mar 22 '17 at 14:45
  • @Araucaria Have you read Neil Coffey's answer? It assumes '[What the thing is] is ...' to be unremarkable. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 22 '17 at 20:15
  • @EdwinAshworth Yes, but [[what the thing is] is] ... is a cleft construction, not a fused relative. (He doesn't consider it unremarkable, though) – Araucaria Mar 23 '17 at 0:38
  • @ Araucaria The Wikipedia article on clefts says that the juries are out: 'Similarly controversial is the status of the subordinate clause, often termed the "cleft clause". While most would agree that the cleft clause in wh-clefts can be analysed as some kind of relative clause (free or fused or headless), there is disagreement as to the exact nature of the relative.' – Edwin Ashworth Mar 23 '17 at 10:37

Note: After posting, I realized I restructured your sentence in my head. Either way, it's still an idea.

The correct way would be to use a colon:

I left shortly after I realized where I was: the edge of the world.

Aside from it sounding more dramatic, which is what I'm assuming you're going for, it's more substantial visually.

  • +1 for "Aside from it sounding more dramatic, which is what I'm assuming you're going for". I also felt this was OP's intention. Your suggestion avoids the awkward construction and preserves the tone. – AleksandrH Mar 22 '17 at 11:14
  • Hello, Andre. While being a good suggestion, this doesn't directly answer OP's question. In fact, it has been asked and answered before on ELU. It would be better to post helpful advice which isn't really an answer, or material that has been posted in earlier threads, as a 'comment'. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 22 '17 at 11:28

This is an example of a sentence that is grammatical but looks very inelegant in writing. I don't see any need for a comma, because it is a simple Subject + copula + complement construction.

However, skilled writers usually avoid this kind of repetition, just as they would avoid "was is" in "Where I was is a secret," or repeating "that" in a sentence like "The fact that that information was false did not bother him."

@Andre Angelo's suggestion to use a colon is a good one. Other paraphrases of

... where I was, was the edge of the world

that are likely to be deemed better writing style include the following:

... the place where I found myself was the edge of the world

... I was in a place that was (in fact) the edge of the world.

  • If one is going to use the double-is construction, one may as well sacrifice the tiny amount of style remaining for increased ease of reading and add the comma. And the question invites style advice, which really belongs elsewhere; "grammatical but far better avoided", with supporting references, is within ELU parameters (but has already been given in the duplicate). // I'd certainly vote your answer up on 'Writers SE'. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 22 '17 at 11:36
  • Good comment. Thanks! I'm new to this, and wasn't aware of the Writers' SE. – Kevin Mark Mar 22 '17 at 11:41
  • They drop the 'associative usage' apostrophe. So we should respect their choice. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 22 '17 at 11:49
  • Got it! You're very sharp! ✍️ – Kevin Mark Mar 22 '17 at 11:58

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