Student or Learner
Taking in regard the semantic meaning of "soul" in the following phrase (a person), does one have to use "who" or "that" in it?
"Spinoza was one of the biggest souls __ lived on Earth."
Are maybe both pronouns acceptable?
Last edited by Conatus; 01-Feb-2014 at 23:54.
What are you actually trying to say? I don't think you can refer to Spinoza as a 'soul' without some spiritual connotation of the word. I'd change it. Maybe "one of the greatest souls", but this is implicitly spiritual.
We don't refer to famous people as "big souls".
I'm trying to mean "one of the greatest souls", taking "soul" in its spiritual connotation. I tought it would be possible to use "big" as a synonym to "great" after checking this example in Word Reference online Dictionary (English to Portuguese):
The boss is a big man in the community. [according to the mentioned dictionary, as a synonym to "important": ]big] - Dicionário Inglês-Português (Brasil) WordReference.com
Before asking the question I checked "biggest souls" on Google as well and I found more than 800 results.
I remembered that at least in journalistic texts it's common to see "giant" as a synonym to "very very proeminent in her/his field of work".
I've seen that in Word Referece thesaurus one can see "big" as a synonym to "important", "proeminent": big - WordReference.com English Thesaurus
I'm not insisting on that "big" is possible to convey this meaning. I'm just showing the sources I've checked to you all.
Actually, I was more concerned about which pronoun to use when the noun it refers to is at the same time an object ("soul" in its denotative meaning; an abstract object, of course) and a subject ("soul" in one of its connotatives meanings: a person) and Mike kindly answered my question. But this issue you've raised is interesting and important too. What do you think about the meanings shown in the sources above?
Last edited by emsr2d2; 02-Feb-2014 at 13:52. Reason: Removed huge blank space at the bottom
great soul vs. big soul:
The use of 'soul' to mean 'person' is mostly restricted to literary or poetical usage.
'The liner sank with the tragic loss of 2,400 souls' (crew, passengers, entertainers,temporary staff).
'Old King Cole was a merry old soul'.
'Spinoza was one of the biggest souls...' sounds quite wrong.