some uses of "who"
Is it possible for the relative pronoun "who", which normally requires an antecedent noun/pronoun, to be used independently, or do we need to say “he who / the one who / the person who, as in:
1 - Who thinks he knows it all is deluded
2 - Beware who thinks he knows it all
3 - The most untrustworthy person is who thinks he knows it all
4 - Seeking the wisdom of who thinks he knows it all can lead to trouble
The sentences sound uncommon, if a little old-fashioned, but relatively okay to me. Or perhaps there’s some Portuguese interference clouding my perception. I’m less confident about sentence (4) – using “who” right after a preposition somehow seems a bit odd, though in this sentence “whom” would certainly not be possible, despite the fact that “whom” can be followed by a verb, as in “This should interest my friends, most of whom are fond of reading.”
Come to think of it, using “who” after a preposition may be actually totally harmless - a Google search offers countless examples of the type, “…Let’s talk about who has freedom ” ; “…keeping track of who is logged into…”; “…This change in who makes the news is also apparent…” (These sentences also seem to confirm that “who” does not need an antecedent; then again, Google searches are not always a very reliable source of grammatical sentences!)
I’m racking my brains, trying to remember in what kind of situation the use of “who” is not deemed grammatical, and it would have to be replaced with “whom”. The only one I can think of right now is in sentences like, “The little boy at whom you’re looking is an accomplished musician” .
Any comments would be much appreciated.
São Paulo, Brazil
They work, but they do sound formal. You could add 'someone' or 'people' if it sounds better. In the second, I'd use 'beware of'.
Originally Posted by tdol
Thank you for your answer.
You're welcome, Gisele.
Originally Posted by tdol
For more on nominal/independent/fused relative clauses, click here.
Originally Posted by X Mode
Yes, this kind of structure is very usual in Portuguese.
Thanks for you answer.
Originally Posted by gisele
Then, to me, that's why it sounds formal in English. There are various grammatical structures in English that are not often used, and therefore sound more formal and serious in tone. These grammatical forms are usually more common in Latin based languages such as Portuguese.
The same goes for English vocabulary. English words that come from Latin are usually more formal sounding.
In everyday language most people say "get here" "get there" or "get to" instead of "arrive".
arrive - This comes from French, which is a Latin based language.
Using "that" to introduce a noun clause is also not a high frequency grammatical form in English. It is, however, more common in Spanish and Portuguese.
The same thing holds true for "of" when used for possession.
I bought an English vocabulary book a long time ago, called "Word Smart" or something like that. It was some sort of vocabulary enhancer for SAT/GRE students I believe.
It was all French inside :)
By Allthatjazznj in forum General Language Discussions
Last Post: 06-May-2004, 01:20
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