Tiny Tiny Court (fencer_x) wrote in linguaphiles,
Tiny Tiny Court

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A sentence within a sentence?

Okay, so, I've noticed something in my grammar lately that I'm curious about, and wanted to see if anyone else used this construction and whether or not it was even "proper".

In English, we'll often take out the relative pronouns "that" or "which" from a relative clause to shorten the sentence and smooth it along, such as:

"This is the gift that I got from my mother."
"I read a book that my friend gave me."

In both of those examples, the relative clause of course cannot stand on its own, as it's missing "it" ("I got [it] from my mother"). However, lately I've been adopting the strange habit of making the relative clause a complete sentence for some reason, even when it comes in the middle of a sentence:

"Then two other guys I had no clue who they were came in."
"He gave me something I didn't know what it was before he left."

I'm thinking I do this (unconsciously, obviously) because I'll get started defining what the thing/person was with a relative clause, but get to the end before I can figure out how it should've been phrased or phrased better at least ("Then two other guys I'd never seen before came in."), but not only are the relative clauses here full sentences, I seem to have even taken out the "who" from the first sentence--is that even possible in English? o_O

It's not like I pause in the middle of the sentence like, "Then two other guys--I had no clue who they were--came in." I just barrel on through keeping the pace of the sentence constant as if nothing were out of the ordinary. I just...do it unconsciously. A humorous explanation: I live in Japan and speak Japanese a good bit on a daily basis, which DOES modify nouns with relative clauses (sans relative pronouns) that are complete sentences. Any chance my sense of Japanese grammar is subconsciously seeping into my native language? :P

FWIW I'm a native speaker from Louisiana, USA. Just wondering what the heck I'm doing here and if anyone else does it as well!

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