Results 1 to 5 of 5
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Korean
      • Home Country:
      • South Korea
      • Current Location:
      • South Korea

    • Join Date: Sep 2010
    • Posts: 39
    #1

    an interrogative VS a relative

    I've hit on some stupid question.

    "I asked John who was the president of the company."

    I think this sentence is ambiguous depending on how a person regards 'who'.
    1. if the person thinks it is an interroative, it would mean 'I asked John to tell me who is the president.'
    2. but, if it is seen as a relative, it would mean 'I asked John, and he is the president.'

    Am I right? or did I miss some important factors?
    Thank you :)

  1. Raymott's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 24,091
    #2

    Re: an interrogative VS a relative

    Quote Originally Posted by zzang418lee View Post
    I've hit on some stupid question.

    "I asked John who was the president of the company."

    I think this sentence is ambiguous depending on how a person regards 'who'.
    1. if the person thinks it is an interroative, it would mean 'I asked John to tell me who is the president.'
    2. but, if it is seen as a relative, it would mean 'I asked John, and he is the president.'

    Am I right? or did I miss some important factors?
    Thank you :)
    It wouldn't be ambiguous. In writing, you need a comma for the second. In speaking the intonation patterns are different.

  2. engee30's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Apr 2006
    • Posts: 2,969
    #3

    Re: an interrogative VS a relative

    ♥♦♣♠ NOT A TEACHER ♥♦♣♠
    I've got a feeling there's a difference in meaning between:

    I asked John who was the president of the company.
    and
    I asked John who the president of the company was.

  3. Banned
    Student or Learner
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Bengali; Bangla
      • Home Country:
      • Argentina
      • Current Location:
      • Austria

    • Join Date: Feb 2011
    • Posts: 6
    #4

    Re: an interrogative VS a relative

    Quote Originally Posted by engee30 View Post
    I asked John who was the president of the company.
    I asked John, (comma) who was the president of the company.
    I asked that John (there are several people with the name John) who was the president of the company.

  4. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134
    #5

    Re: an interrogative VS a relative

    Quote Originally Posted by engee30 View Post
    ♥♦♣♠ NOT A TEACHER ♥♦♣♠
    I've got a feeling there's a difference in meaning between:

    I asked John who was the president of the company.
    and
    I asked John who the president of the company was.
    The first could be either an indirect question (with a less than happily placed was) or, with a comma (see Raymott's post), a relative clause.

    The second can only be a relative clause - with a more appropriately placed was.

Similar Threads

  1. Interrogative
    By Jgap in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 04-Jul-2007, 11:42
  2. interrogative?
    By jirikoo in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 06-Feb-2007, 04:08
  3. interrogative...
    By nautes20 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 08-Nov-2004, 10:38
  4. interrogative...
    By nautes20 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 25-Oct-2004, 08:51
  5. relative pronoun VS relative adverb
    By hela in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 01-Oct-2004, 02:11

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •