Is this that a conjunction or a pronoun?

Harry did the best he could, trying to ignore the stabbing pains in
his forehead, which had been bothering him ever since his trip into
the forest. Neville thought Harry had a bad case of exam nerves
because Harry couldn’t sleep, but the truth was that Harry kept being
woken by his old nightmare, except that it was now worse than ever
because there was a hooded figure dripping blood in it. (Harry Potter
and the Sorcerer’s Stone)

Is that-clause the complement of except or does that refer to something?


I don’t think it’s helpful to describe this example as either a “that-clause” or a “complement”.

In fact, the word that is an entirely optional conjunction in this case. The word except here (also a conjunction) indicates that whatever follows at least partially refutes or otherwise “qualifies” the preceding statement.

The meaning would be the same with though or but instead of except [that]. The only difference being that neither of those conjunctions can be followed by that in this context.

Specifically, the statement Harry kept being woken by his old nightmares is at least “misleading”, because it implies that what’s happening is the same as what used to happen. But it’s not, it’s worse.

Note that the additional words now and than ever, and the entire clause from because on, are all irrelevant to the grammar involved in this usage of except [that].

Source : Link , Question Author : Listenever , Answer Author : FumbleFingers

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