Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12
  1. Conatus's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Portuguese
      • Home Country:
      • Brazil
      • Current Location:
      • Brazil

    • Join Date: Oct 2013
    • Posts: 18
    #1

    Spinoza was one of the biggest souls who/that (?) lived on Earth.

    Hi,

    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; 02-Feb-2014 at 00:54.

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 24,983
    #2

    Re: Spinoza was one of the biggest souls who/that (?) lived on Earth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Conatus View Post
    Hi,

    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?
    Either "who" or "that" can be used for a person. I believe most would prefer "who".

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

    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 24,103
    #3

    Re: Spinoza was one of the biggest souls who/that (?) lived on Earth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Conatus View Post
    Hi,

    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?
    If the meaning of 'soul' is supposed to be 'person', then it's probably wrong. I don't know how big Spinoza was, but he wasn't a giant (literally).
    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.

  4. MikeNewYork's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 24,983
    #4

    Re: Spinoza was one of the biggest souls who/that (?) lived on Earth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    If the meaning of 'soul' is supposed to be 'person', then it's probably wrong. I don't know how big Spinoza was, but he wasn't a giant (literally).
    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.
    I disagree. I think one can describe a person as a "soul" without a spiritual or religious connotation. We talk about "poor souls", "good souls" and jolly old souls". Whether Spinoza was great or not depends mostly on opinion. I think he was an important philosopher.

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

    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 24,103
    #5

    Re: Spinoza was one of the biggest souls who/that (?) lived on Earth.

    We don't refer to famous people as "big souls".

  6. MikeNewYork's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 24,983
    #6

    Re: Spinoza was one of the biggest souls who/that (?) lived on Earth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    We don't refer to famous people as "big souls".
    Why not? If "souls" means "people:, it is fine.

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

    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 24,103
    #7

    Re: Spinoza was one of the biggest souls who/that (?) lived on Earth.

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    Why not? If "souls" means "people:, it is fine.
    It's fine if Spinoza was one of the biggest people who lived on Earth. But he wasn't.
    I can't believe I'm arguing about this.

  8. Conatus's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Portuguese
      • Home Country:
      • Brazil
      • Current Location:
      • Brazil

    • Join Date: Oct 2013
    • Posts: 18
    #8

    Re: Spinoza was one of the biggest souls who/that (?) lived on Earth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    If the meaning of 'soul' is supposed to be 'person', then it's probably wrong. I don't know how big Spinoza was, but he wasn't a giant (literally).
    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.
    Thank you very much for your answer, Raymott.

    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 14:52. Reason: Removed huge blank space at the bottom

  9. Conatus's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Portuguese
      • Home Country:
      • Brazil
      • Current Location:
      • Brazil

    • Join Date: Oct 2013
    • Posts: 18
    #9

    Re: Spinoza was one of the biggest souls who/that (?) lived on Earth.


    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Jun 2010
    • Posts: 24,502
    #10

    Re: Spinoza was one of the biggest souls who/that (?) lived on Earth.

    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.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. [Grammar] biggest danger to/for
    By Csika in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 09-May-2011, 22:07
  2. It's biggest VS It's the biggest
    By Unregistered in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 13-Mar-2009, 16:55
  3. Wordsworth:Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
    By thedaffodils in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 18-May-2008, 18:58
  4. earth or the earth? and another article question.
    By jose rocha in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 12-Dec-2005, 00:16

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
  •