I would like to know how to correctly combine the sentence 1. with the sentence 2.

  1. People are interested in how these algorithms work.
  2. I am writing a book about algorithms... [here I need to recast the above sentence so it fits]

closed as not a real question by J.R., Matt E. Эллен, kiamlaluno, MetaEd, user11550 Sep 22 '12 at 0:30

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  • You will absolutely need to reword if you want to remain sane (and wish the same for your readers). If you leave the "I write a book about things" as is, you will have no choice but to follow it up with some clumsy construction like "in the workings of which people are interested", or "for which people are interested in how they work", etc. Better rewrite from scratch. – RegDwigнt May 6 '12 at 11:07
  • Thanks well this was just an example, I will reword the question though. I am interested in how to say that in english. – Pietro May 6 '12 at 11:09
  • P.S. If "write" is not a typo for "wrote", it is incorrect: you either need "wrote", "have written", or "am writing", depending on what you mean. – Cerberus May 6 '12 at 11:14

You would normally use an adverbial clause:

I wrote a book about these things, because people are interested in how they work.

You could also do it in various other ways, of course; the possibilities are endless. But why not make two separate sentences? There is no inherent benefit in a single sentence. In fact, some sentences can be overloaded with information, which makes it harder to see what the author meant.

People are interested in how these things work. So I wrote a book about it.

If I absolutely had to combine these exact sentence with a relative construction, I could only do it like this:

? I wrote a book about things that people are interested in how they work.

I find this construction very cumbersome and I do not recommend it, but it might occur in sloppy speech. You just can't properly use the subject of an embedded sentence as a relative pronoun like this in English, which is what you'd have to do if you wanted to integrate these two sentences word by word. I'd rather recast it:

? I wrote a book about things whose workings people are interested in.

Here I have substituted workings. But it sounds awkward: you just wouldn't combine these two sentences with a relative pronoun in natural language; and workings has somewhat different connotations.

  • It's not surprising that you find the construction very cumbersome, since it's in fact ungrammatical. It violates a Ross Constraint, or rather it attempts to fix a Ross constraint violation by leaving a resumptive they behind in the relative clause. See the example at the end of the link page. – John Lawler May 6 '12 at 15:11
  • @JohnLawler: The strange thing is that it more or less works in other, similar constructions: the device that people want to know of how it works. It's not exactly pretty, but it is acceptable, agreed? The difference seems to be that, in this case, how it works is a complement, or at least a valid constituent, to the verb (I want to know of x how it works); whereas how they work is not a valid constituent to interested: you can be interested in x, but not interested x, and the in clearly governs the relative pronoun, not the how clause (which dangles in the air). – Cerberus May 6 '12 at 17:04

"I am writing a book about algorithms because people are interested in how algorithms work."

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