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  1. #1
    Lenka is offline Senior Member
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    Default relative clauses (that vs. who)

    Jane's the best tennis player ____ has been selected from that club.

    a) whose
    b) which
    c) that
    d) who


    The right answer is supposed to be c) that. However, I don't understand why "who" isn't used instead! Why?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: relative clauses (that vs. who)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lenka View Post
    Jane's the best tennis player ____ has been selected from that club.

    a) whose
    b) which
    c) that
    d) who

    The right answer is supposed to be c) that. However, I don't understand why "who" isn't used instead! Why?
    The best is a superlative.

  3. #3
    Lenka is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: relative clauses (that vs. who)

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea View Post
    The best is a superlative.
    What does it imply?

    Can't "who" be used with a superlative?

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: relative clauses (that vs. who)

    Normally, no.

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    Default Re: relative clauses (that vs. who)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lenka View Post
    What does it imply?
    The best person is a title, a thing, so it's compatible with that, not who.


    Does that help?

  6. #6
    engee30's Avatar
    engee30 is offline Key Member
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    Red face Re: relative clauses (that vs. who)

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea View Post
    The best person is a title, a thing, so it's compatible with that, not who.


    Does that help?
    Then, what about Answer b) which? Would it be all right to choose it instead?

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    Default Re: relative clauses (that vs. who)

    Quote Originally Posted by engee30 View Post
    Then, what about Answer b) which? Would it be all right to choose it instead?
    Good question. Take another look at this structure, Jane's the best tennis player. It's copular ('s = is). The subject complement here, a title, the best tennis palyer, refers to a person, Jane. So, the best pronoun for that referential pair would be that, not which, because that can refer to people and things, whereas which cannot.

    Does that help?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: relative clauses (that vs. who)

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea View Post
    ...So, the best pronoun for that referential pair would be that, not which, because that can refer to people and things, whereas which cannot.

    Does that help?
    That was a very smart explanation!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: relative clauses (that vs. who)

    Well ... thank you.

  10. #10
    Lenka is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: relative clauses (that vs. who)

    Hmmm... Maybe I shouldn't try to understand it, but simply learn it...

    "A tennis player" (or the best one) is a person, not a thing, so I don't understand why "who" couldn't be used here, anyway, there are things that can't be understood (when learning a language)... For me, this is probably one of them.

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