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    #1

    Relative clauses

    'Were you the last person to have seen the woman alive?' (THAT)
    I'd say: 'Were you the last person that has seen the woman alive?'
    But the answer is: 'Were you the last person that saw the woman alive?' Why?
    Last edited by barnej0096; 31-Aug-2012 at 07:20.

  1. Chicken Sandwich's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Relative clauses

    NOT A TEACHER

    Quote Originally Posted by barnej0096 View Post
    I'd say: 'Were you the last person who have seen the woman alive?'
    Well, for starters, "person" is singular. Do you see the consequence of this?

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    #3

    Re: Relative clauses

    If you have to include that, your version fails to do so; if it doesn't, why did you write '(THAT)'?

    Rover

  2. charliedeut's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Relative clauses

    Quote Originally Posted by barnej0096 View Post
    'Were you the last person to have seen the woman alive?' (THAT)
    IMO, "Were" makes no sense here: whether it was one minute or one decade ago, you are always going to be the LAST person to have seen her alive (she's dead noow, so nobody else could see her after you did), so I would say "Are you the last..."

    charliedeut

    PS: I know it's somewhat besides the point, but anyway...
    Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.

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    #5

    Re: Relative clauses

    But I still don't understand why I should use 'saw'.

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    #6

    Re: Relative clauses

    If she is dead, no on else will ever see her alive again.

    If someone is missing (and not assumed dead) you can say "Were you the last person to have seen her?" or "Were you the last person to see her before she disappeared?" or "Were you the last person who saw her before she disappeared?"

    But no one else will ever see her alive again, so any tense with a present aspect won't work.

    (If she was murdered, I hope this person was not the last person - the murderer was.)
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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