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Which of the following statements is correct and why?

In other words, is it OK if we bring "it" or if used, it would be redundant and grammatically wrong?

  1. It is used for an action that we know "it" will happen...
  2. It is used for an action that we know will happen...
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2 Answers 2

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The four valid constructions are...

1: It is used for an action we know will happen
2: It is used for an action that we know will happen
3: It is used for an action where we know it will happen
4: It is used for an action where we know that it will happen

...where #2 and #4 are effectively the same syntax as #1 and #3 respectively (they just happen to be contexts where the relativiser that is completely optional). But these are the invalid permutations...

5: It is used for an action we know it will happen - NOT VALID
6: It is used for an action that we know it will happen - NOT VALID
7: It is used for an action we know that it will happen - NOT VALID


It may be useful to discard the "we know" element in OP's examples. Whatever "it" is, presumably it will happen, regardless of whether we know that or not...

8: It is used for an action that will happen
9: It is used for an action where it will happen

Note that these are the only syntactically valid variations without "we know". And I may be mistaken, but offhand I can't think of a valid context where the two uses of the pronoun "it" in #3, #4, #9 (the where versions) both refer to the same thing. I'm pretty sure they'd always have to be (contextually established) different things.

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  • Nicely said, the reason you added in the last paragraph was exactly the same thing I did on my own... But since I heard an English teacher using #1 (in my original post) I thought, there might be a point that I'm not aware of. That's why I came here to ask my question...
    – Amir F
    Nov 23, 2020 at 12:54
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    Ooop! While you were writing that comment, I was adding an additional "last paragraph"! I hope it's sorted you out though! Nov 23, 2020 at 12:59
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    Your example #1 doesn't look like anything a native speaker would be likely to say, so I assume your English teacher in't in fact a native Anglophone (unless perhaps you misheard; it would be fine with where, when, or if instead of that). Or perhaps it was a simple slip of the pen when writing it (for example, I definitely intended the first word of my previous comment to be Ooops! - I've no idea how that s got lost! Mistakes happen to the best of us!). Nov 23, 2020 at 15:51
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The restrictive clause that we know will happen describes what type of action "it" is used for. that here introduces the restrictive clause and gives us further information about the action.

If you want the second sentence to make sense, you would have to drop that and insert a different word there. Of course, the meanings of these two sentences might differ vastly.

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