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Hello, everyone,

“Is it any wonder we love automation? By offering to reduce the amount of work we have to do, by promising to fill our lives with greater ease, comfort, and convenience, computers and other labor-saving technologies appeal to our eager but misguided desire for release from what we perceive as toil.“


I’d like to know which word among ‘that’ and ‘why’ has been left out between ‘any wonder’ and ‘we’ in the first sentence above. I assume ‘that’ (leading an extra-posed subjective clause) has been done, since I’ve found one relevant explanation below from a well known grammar web, which might justify my choice, even though ‘any wonder’ is a short nominal predicative complement;


“Generally, it depends on the structure of the matrix clause and the content clause itself.

In matrix clauses containing "be" + a short predicative complement, like those in your examples, I'd say that "that" can be omitted, especially in informal style;

  • It's good they're on your side.
  • It's possible she wrote it.

But compare:

  • It distresses me [that he is trying to lay the blame for the accident on us].
  • It disturbs her [that he was acquitted].

In these examples, the omission of "that" is very unlikely.


Will appreciate, if you kindly provide me valuable opinions.

Original Post

Hi, Deepcosmos—Yes, "Is it any wonder we love automation?" can be parsed as containing a deleted "that": "Is it any wonder [that] we love automation?" Compare:

It is no wonder [that] we love automation.
= That we love automation is no wonder.

The sentence may be paraphrased like this: "Is it to be wondered at that we love automation?" It is a rhetorical question, implying that it is not to be wondered at that we love automation.

It does not make sense to try to parse the underlying structure as containing "why" rather than "that." Although it is possible to say, "It is no wonder why we love automation," "why" cannot be omitted and the punctuation is poor.

If "why" had been used, the meaning would have been different, and the meaning would have fit the rest of the passage. However, "why" was not used, and the sentence does not possess it as a ghost.

Moreover, since "why we love automation" would be a free relative clause rather than an embedded question, we would not have extraposition but (awkward) right dislocation. A comma would be needed before "why":

It is no wonder, why we love automation.
= Why we love automation is no wonder.
= The reason/reasons for our loving automation is/are no wonder.

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