Let's look at the sentence :

I like what she likes.

This is a correct sentence. Here 'what she likes' acts as object of the verb like and it is a noun clause. So we can consider the above sentence as a single sentence with subject, verb and object.

Now let's have a look at another sentence:

What she likes I like that.

Is this a correct sentence? What type of sentence is this? What type of clauses are there? What are the object and the subject? Can I consider it as one single sentence? I'm totally confused. Please explain it.

  • The second example is two sentences juxtaposed. It should be "What she likes is what I like."
    – Ram Pillai
    Apr 8, 2021 at 12:21

1 Answer 1


This sentence is not standard. It becomes standard if you suppress "that".

  • What she likes I like.

If you try to restore the normal order, there is no place for "that". This is an indication that the construction is most probably not correct.

This is a case of fronting the object (emphatic sentences); so, there is no difference with the first sentence as the parsing is again that which you gave, except for the fronting of the object clause.

In spoken and written English we sometimes want to make a strong contrast with something in a previous statement. We can do this with objects and complements by 'fronting' them (moving them to the front of the clause), which makes theme more emphatic.

Examples from Practical English Usage, Michael Swan, p. 217

  • What I'm going to do next I just don't know.
  • How she got the gun through the customs we never found out.

The second sentence, slightly modified can be correct (mere addition of a comma), as for instance in this dialogue. However, the parsing is different, there is no fronting, the first clause is not the object of "like".

  • — What sort of house decoration do you personally like? I am not asking about your girl-friend…
    — What she likes, I like that.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.