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I came across the following sentence:

The head of the committee never failed to carry herself with the gravitas she felt was appropriate to her office.

I feel that this construction came from "she felt the gravitas was appropriate to her office", but here "the gravitas" seems to be the subject of a noun clause, rather than the object of verb “felt". So how could it be translated into an attributive clause like "the gravitas she felt was appropriate to her office"?

  • You're assuming that it came from a different form without there being any reason to make that assumption. Your question is making an unsubstantiated claim—and then asking how it got from that other place to where it is now. But without any more context, the sentence is exactly what it is—and there was no translation that took place. – Jason Bassford May 29 '19 at 4:31
  • @JasonBassford Sorry for my misunderstanding. Could you help me to parse the original sentence? Was "the gravitas" the object of "felt"? I think it is the case but I couldn't explain the existence of "was"... – likemath May 29 '19 at 4:40
  • [It] was appropriate to her office. What was? [The gravitas she felt]. – Jason Bassford May 29 '19 at 4:48
  • @JasonBassford But in this case didn't we need a "which" before "was"? – likemath May 29 '19 at 4:53
  • @JasonBassford It was the gravitas she felt that was appropriate to her office doesn't make sense to me. The more salient reading should be It was the gravitas that she felt was appropriate to her office. – JK2 May 29 '19 at 5:16
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The sentence contains a relative clause she felt was appropriate to her office that is integrated into the noun phrase the gravitas she felt was appropriate to her office. Putting that or which before the relative clause would make it obvious:

The head of the committee never failed to carry herself with the gravitas (that|which) she felt was appropriate to her office.

Note that either that or which is necessary if you leave out she felt:

The head of the committee never failed to carry herself with the gravitas that|which was appropriate to her office.

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  • Thanks. Actually what get me stuck is the role "the gravitas" plays in this sentence. If it is considered to be object of "felt", I think the "was" shouldn't appear, that is, "appropriate" is enough as a object complement... – likemath May 29 '19 at 5:27
  • Just think of 'felt' here as 'thought'. The head of the committee never failed to carry herself with the gravitas she thought was appropriate to her office. – JK2 May 29 '19 at 5:34
  • That makes sense..Thanks. – likemath May 29 '19 at 5:37
  • @likemath - or considered. – aparente001 May 29 '19 at 5:38

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