Hello? Hello? Why no one replies to it?
- For Teachers
I'm studying the grammar section about the attributive clause. There is something that I'm not sure about.
I know that when the word which has an attributive clause refers to a person, we usually use "who" or "that" to
start the clause. But here is the problem: when the word referring to a person has the attribute like "the first", "the best", "the
only", "the very" "every" "any" or "no", must I use "that" instead of "who" to start the attributive clause after the word?
And there is another one: If the word is "everyone", "anyone", "someone", "none" or "no one", must I use "who" instead of
"that" to start the attributive clause that modifies the word?
In a word, what are the cases where only "that" or only "who" can be used to start the attributive clause instead of
the other one? I hope I've made my questions clear enough, for I don't feel I'm good enough to express it well. Many
thanks for your help!
Hello? Hello? Why no one replies to it?
You're trying to form absolute rules, and these will break down. It may be more common to use who after everyone, but that is a pattern of usage and not an absolute rule- you will find everyone that used.
Sorry for my way of drawing your attention. It is just because I fear my post would sink down without any replies. That's only a way to up my post. I'm always patient in waiting for your replies, and also I'm extremely fond of this forum. I feel really fortunate to be able to find so many warm-hearted teachers who are native speakers of English. You've really helped me a lot (more than I can imagine) in my English study.
Maybe I've presented my questions in a messy way. So I'll change the way of doing it.
You know, when we Chinese learn the English grammar of the adjective clause, we often have a lot of rules to remember, which usually puzzles a lot of learners. So I want to make it clear whether or not these rules truly exist in native speakers' mind.
Here are my questions:
Mr Smith is the only/the very/the first/ the best foreigner _________ I have met.
Do you know anyone/someone/..._________ can do this?
Which is acceptable to be filled in the above two blanks? who? that? or both?
In the first I would use that or nothing. However, I wouldn't regard who as an error.
In the second I could use both.
1. I understand your problem. I think that many non-native teachers of English want to do the very best job that they can do for their students. So they expect their students to follow the "rules" for "perfect" English.
2. Here is something that may interest you. It comes from a very famous (and very old) book entitled The King's English
by two English brothers, H.W. Fowler and F.G. Fowler. It was first published in 1906.
3. The brothers write (remember: this was in 1906!):
"That," used of persons, has in fact come to look archaic [ancient; no longer in use]. The only cases in which
it is now [in 1906!] to be preferred to "who" [ are those cases] in which the antecedent is "it," or has attached to it
a superlative or other word of exclusive meaning.
The brothers then give these examples (the boldface is my emphasis):
The most impartial critic that could be found.
The only man that I know.
Any one [I guess it was spelled as two words in 1906!] that knows anything knows this.
It was you that said so.
Who is it that talks about moral geography?
Then the brothers remind us: "Outside these special types, 'that' used of persons is apt to sound archaic."
This is 2012. As Tdol reminded us, many native speakers would use "that," "who," or nothing (when possible).
Personally, I like the Fowler brothers' "rule," but I do not have the courage to follow it. If I wrote: You are the best friend that I have," someone might say: Excuse me, but you should say "who I have." And, of course, that someone would be wrong. S/he should have said "whom" I have. So that's why many native speakers simply use NO relative pronoun.
If your teacher follows the "rule," then you should probably make him/her happy by using "that" whenever the "rule"
requires it. I know that it is very important to earn good marks on your examinations. But when you get into the
"real world," you will find that most people could not care less.
HAVE A NICE DAY!