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    #1

    not you but I

    It's not you but I ______ to blame for not having completed the work.
    A. that am B. that are C. which am D. who

    The given answer is A.

    My questions are:
    1. Do native speakers use the phrase 'not you but I' often or seldom or very rarely?
    2. With the use of 'that am', does the sentence sound odd to native speakers?
    3. How should we recast the sentence to make it more natural?
    Thank you in advance.
    Last edited by joham; 21-Nov-2009 at 13:25.

  1. Soup's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: not you but I

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    My questions are:

    1. Do native speakers use the phrase 'not you but I' often or seldom or very rarely?
    It depends on the person. I don't use 'not you but I' ever, but I do use the 3rd person, for example, 'not Max, but Pat who is' often.
    2. With the use of 'that am', does the sentence sound odd to native speakers?
    No. It sounds like English; who am is also possible.
    3. How should we recast the sentence to make it more natural?
    You're not to be blamed; I am.


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    #3

    Re: not you but I

    It's not you but I that am to blame for not having completed the work.

    Is this one of those American travesties?

    It's not you but I who is/who's to blame for not having completed the work.

    Call me British - yes, an Englishman - and having more self-respect than to call myself a 'that' instead of a 'who'.
    Last edited by Excalibur; 21-Nov-2009 at 16:27.

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    #4

    Re: not you but I

    I agree it should be who... but it should be the first person as well:

    It is not you but I who am to blame.


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    #5

    Re: not you but I

    "It is I who am..."
    Perhaps in a Jane Austen novel.

    Nowadays, it would be "It's me who's to blame."

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    #6

    Re: not you but I

    joham,

    You're dealing with an expletive construct, the structural subject of which is a semantically empty pronoun, "It", and the reason "that", not "who", is used; e.g., It is I that... .


    Hypercorrection
    • It is I who is to be blamed <Excalibur>
    • It is I who am to be blamed <konungursvia>


    In linguistics, hypercorrection is defined as usage of pronunciation or linguistic rule that many informed users of a language consider incorrect, but that the speaker or writer uses through misunderstanding of prescriptive rules, often combined with a desire to seem formal or educated

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    #7

    Re: not you but I

    I don't agree with that. It's an adequate definition of hypercorrection, but that's not what we were doing. I can accord the pronoun "I" with the verb "am" after "who" if I wish. It's been commonly accepted usage for ages.


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    #8

    Re: not you but I

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    joham,

    You're dealing with an expletive construct, the structural subject of which is a semantically empty pronoun, "It", and the reason "that", not "who", is used; e.g., It is I that... .
    Hypercorrection
    • It is I who is to be blamed <Excalibur>
    • It is I who am to be blamed <konungursvia>

    In linguistics, hypercorrection is defined as usage of pronunciation or linguistic rule that many informed users of a language consider incorrect, but that the speaker or writer uses through misunderstanding of prescriptive rules, often combined with a desire to seem formal or educated
    Hello Soup,

    My understanding is this:

    Clefting means the cleaving of one clause into two.

    Original clause:

    I am to be blamed.

    After slashing it with a sword:

    1. It is I.
    2. (relative pronoun plus be) to be blamed

    The problem has been narrowed down to the correct choice of the relative pronoun and the correct form of 'be'.

    Let us focus on the choice of connector, first.

    What is the referent of the linking relative pronoun? Which words co-refer? The dummy subject and the connector? Can't be. What is left to choose from? I = who. That is more like it. The non-restricitve relative clause describes the human referent of the predicate nominative in the matrix clause. Why non-restrictive? Can we restrict the meaning of I? How? I would be very much surprised if we could.
    This is the existing pronoun available:

    -who ('that' works only with restrictive clauses; the use of 'which' is reserved for non-humans)

    Which form of 'be' is correct? It solely comes down to the referent of the relative pronoun. The referent of the pronoun is singular first person 'I'. I am.

    It is I who am to be blamed.
    It is I who is to be blamed.

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    #9

    Re: not you but I

    Thanks for that, Kondorosi. It's nice to see people with linguistic knowledge and also common sense. Some people like throwing around terminology just to obscure things for the innocent reader, but you make yourself completely clear, in a kind and helpful manner. Good on you, mate!

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    #10

    Re: not you but I

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    It's not you but I ______ to blame for not having completed the work.
    A. that am B. that are C. which am D. who

    The given answer is A.


    2. With the use of 'that am', does the sentence sound odd to native speakers?
    No, just a shade formal, but you could recast it as

    I am the one who is to blame.

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