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First I should say I am not a linguist, but try to understand it to help my English.

In my native language, Persian, we do much use "Ke" (که) which almost corresponds to "which, who, that" in relative clauses and subordinate clauses

Then, I would like to know how much it corresponds with "that" in English and if the sentences bellow with "that" are grammatical or not?

Ummm.... (just literal translations)

1) The students who were absent, that I prefer not to mention their names, should do this practice...

2) We were walking, that suddenly a car stopped in front of us...

3) that you said you won't go there. Ok I got it... (conversation)

4) I was reading a book that he entered the room

5) People who (that) can't accept it, that by accident are from your country, that off course are respectable, should know ....

6) I was so happy that I started to cry.

If they are not grammatical, and if you yet understand them, what would be the correct sentence for each?

My own interpretation is that in Persian we extra pose "Ke" (sometimes to add emphasis) for example the sentence 1 might be

1) The students who were absent, I prefer that not to mention their names, should do this practice...

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  • I'm no linguist either, but I can tell you, of all your sentences, on (6) is idiomatic: native speakers would find each of the others problematic in one way or another. That said, (2) and (4) are trivial fixes: change that to when. (1) requires a reformation: most native speakers would phrase it "..., whose names I prefer not to mention, ...". (3) and (5) are trickier, because it's not clear to me what you're expressing with the that.
    – Dan Bron
    Jul 28 '15 at 10:24
  • @DanBron thanks, however by (1) I don't refer to students, it's more like a paranthetical phrase like The students who were absent, that I am not sure why, should do this...
    – Ahmad
    Jul 28 '15 at 10:52
  • @DanBron in (3) that refers to what you said, it is You said that you won't go there, in (5) that refers to "by accident are from your country" and "off course are respectable"
    – Ahmad
    Jul 28 '15 at 10:55
  • @DanBron I think "Ke" in Persian sometimes signals that we are going to add an information
    – Ahmad
    Jul 28 '15 at 10:58
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Here are my edits, mostly echoing comments already made:

1) The students who were absent, whose names I prefer not to mention, should do this practice...

2) We were walking, when suddenly a car stopped in front of us...

3) What you said -- you won't go there. Ok I got it... (conversation)

4) I was reading a book when he entered the room

5) People who (that) can't accept it, who incidentally are from your country, who of course are respectable, should know ....

6) [OK as is!] I was so happy that I started to cry.

While in traditional grammar, English "that" is analyzed as a relative pronoun, the recent consensus seems to be that "that" introduces relative clauses whose relative pronoun is then elided, but "that" itself is not a pronoun.

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  • What if I say, "the students who were absent, that I don't know why, should do this practice". Maybe just "Ke" in Persian is not that straightly translatable to English. As another example "I was cleaning it that it broke" might not be "I was cleaning it when it broke", perhaps "I was cleaning it, then it broke"
    – Ahmad
    Jul 28 '15 at 17:58
  • (3) is even odd in Persian, it is as I said an extra position of "that" pointing to subordinate clause of "said" to put emphasis on it, That you said I can't catch you?, now you see that you are in my hand
    – Ahmad
    Jul 28 '15 at 18:00
  • The closest English I can find to "the students who were absent, that I don't know why, should do this practice" is *"the students who were absent, which I don't know why, should do this (practice)". But it's non-standard.
    – Greg Lee
    Jul 28 '15 at 19:03
  • Yes, maybe non-standard in formal Persian, but something that is said
    – Ahmad
    Jul 28 '15 at 19:08
  • Well, I meant that "...who were absent, which I don't know why they were," is not standard English. I have a vague recollection that Tom Sawyer's English, as depicted by Mark Twain, had such constructions.
    – Greg Lee
    Jul 28 '15 at 21:30

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