Here's a quote from the movie 'Kung Fu Panda':

Quit. Don't quit. Noodles. Don't noodles. You are too concerned with what was and what will be. There's a saying: "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the "present".

Here, is the what an interrogative word or a relative pronoun?

In other words, what does the sentence mean?

(1) You are too concerned with the questions of what was and what will be.

(2) You are too concerned with something that was and something that will be.


The word 'what' is used in this sentence as a relative pronoun, so No. 2 is the correct meaning.

The sentence could read: "You are too concerned with things that have happened in the past, and things that might happen in the future."

The encouragement is to concentrate on the here and now, things that are happening in the present, rather than focusing on the past, which is now history, or the future, which can be uncertain.

  • Any reason why (1) cannot work? – JK2 Jan 12 at 15:59
  • Yes, No. 1 is another way to express the words quoted from the movie and is grammatically acceptable. – DavidFJames Jan 14 at 11:42
  • If the quotes can be expressed as (1), the word 'what' in the quotes can be construed as the interrogative word 'what'. – JK2 Jan 14 at 15:07

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