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'Today, people can still see some of the marble stones that were used to build the Mausoleum.'

I understand 'that' is connecting the sentence, but there is no subject after 'that' so im a bit confused

  • There are a few embedded subordinate clauses here. The sentence as a whole is the main clause with "can" as its verb. "Still see some of the marble stones that were used to build the Mausoleum" is a subordinate clause which contains the further sub clause "that were used to build the Mausoleum", which contains the further sub clause "to build the Mausoleum”. So we have: "Today, people can [still see some of the marble stones [that __ were [used [to build the Mausoleum]]]].'" The covert relative pronoun (marked by the __ notation) is the subject of the that clause and refers to “stones. – BillJ Oct 25 '18 at 12:16
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'That' is the subject of the defining relative clause.

  • In modern grammar, "that" is not treated as a relative pronoun but as a subordinator, so it can't be the subject of the relative clause. Instead, the missing subject is represented by the '___' notation, called 'gap', thus: "... the marble stones that ___ were used to build the Mausoleum", where gap is anaphoric to "stones". – BillJ Oct 25 '18 at 12:21
  • When we combine the simple sentences /People can see... and Some of the marble stones.../ the relative pronoun 'that' replaces the words 'some of the marble stones'. So we can define it as the subject of the clause. The subject is one of the main members of the clause/sentence and it can't be a 'gap'. – user307254 Oct 25 '18 at 12:35
  • I wouldn't go along with that. "That" is a subordinator. It functions as a 'marker', so it cannot function as subject of the relative clause (see my comment for the analysis of the relative clause). Gap can be virtually any element in the r/c, including subject. – BillJ Oct 25 '18 at 12:59

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