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  1. #21
    tzfujimino's Avatar
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    Re: Jill is one of the girls who is/are missing.

    The last one would be more natural in the signular,

  2. #22
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    Re: Jill is one of the girls who is/are missing.

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulMatthews View Post
    Jill is one of the girls who is/are missing. . . . Syntactically, the relative clause can only belong in the embedded noun phrase with "girls" as head. Thus the plural verb "are" is correct.

    However, this is not always the case. Consider this example:

    Ed is one of her colleagues who is always ready to criticise her.

    Here the relative clause belongs in the topmost noun phrase with "one" as fused determiner-head. It is not a matter of there being a set of colleagues who are always ready to criticise her, but of there being just one colleague who is always ready to criticise her.
    It's strange that you should say that, "[s]yntactically, the relative clause can only belong in the embedded noun phrase with 'girls' as head" in the one example, and then that the relative clause "belongs in the topmost noun phrase with 'one'" in the other example, whose syntax is essentially parallel.

    The example with Ed can go both ways, as well. Syntactically, there is nothing preventing a plural verb in the relative clause (Ed is one of her colleagues who are always ready to criticize her), unless, like many, you find restrictive relative clauses modifying possessive noun phrases questionable. But there is a fix:

    Ed is one of the colleagues of hers who are always ready to criticize her.

    In that sentence, there does exist a set of colleagues who are always ready to criticize her. Poor woman, she has a hostile work environment.

    Returning to the example with Jill, if some members still doubt whether it is syntactically possible for the relative clause to modify "one" rather than "girls," consider that "one" may be preceded by "the only," and that, if it is, the relative clause not only can modify "one" instead of "girls," but must:

    Jill is the only one of the girls who is missing.
    *Jill is the only one of the girls who are missing.

    For the latter to be possible, an additional relative clause would be needed -- e.g.:

    Jill is the only one of the girls who are missing who has phoned her parents.

    Interestingly, there, the relative clauses modify different NPs. The antecedent of the first "who" is "girls." The antecedent of the second "who" is "one."
    Last edited by Phaedrus; 18-Dec-2020 at 20:59. Reason: typos

  3. #23
    Tarheel's Avatar
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    Re: Jill is one of the girls who is/are missing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    Piscean is one of the members who is online at the moment.
    Piscean is one of the members who responds here regularly.
    Piscean is one of the members who makes quite a few tysop.
    All of my choices go with either Piscean or one. (Take your pick.)
    Not a professional teacher

  4. #24
    Phaedrus's Avatar
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    Re: Jill is one of the girls who is/are missing.

    I have just come upon an in-depth, advanced, fine-tuned analysis which may be of interest to some members, titled "One of Those Constructions that Really Needs a Proper Analysis" (Arnold and Lucas, 2016). The authors are interested in cases of "mismatch," where the relative clause with a singular verb is intended to modify the plural NP that precedes the relative clause.

    As far as I can tell, having only skimmed through the article (I plan to read the whole thing carefully later on), the authors do not look at examples where the relative clause with a singular verb really is intended to modify the larger NP headed by "one" (rather than the smaller NP headed by a plural noun contained within it) and is therefore not a case of mismatch.

    Such an example is "Earth is one of the planets in our solar system that has liquid water." Were I to draw a tree for the NP headed by "one" in that sentence, it would resemble the tree that appears in Arnold and Lucas's example (22), on page 51, with the difference that I would use DPs in addition to NPs and have a TP in place of the S. But those are technicalities. The important difference is that, semantically, the example sentence would not involve mismatch.

  5. #25
    PaulMatthews is offline Member
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    Re: Jill is one of the girls who is/are missing.

    I touched on the topic of mismatch in my post #10, example 3:


    However, you may well come across singular override, as in

    Jill is one of the girls who is missing.

    which presumably can be attributed to the salience within the whole structure of singular "one". But it cannot be regarded as a semantically motivated override: semantically the relative clause modifies "girls".

  6. #26
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Re: Jill is one of the girls who is/are missing.

    The OP having long since lost interest, I'm closing the thread.

  7. #27
    Phaedrus's Avatar
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    Continuation of Closed Thread "Jill is one of the girls who is/are . ."

    Regarding the non-end of this unjustly terminated thread, which had already been unjustly terminated and reopened by somebody's special request:

    Jill is one of the girls who is/are missing. - Page 3 (usingenglish.com)

    the OP never having demonstrated interest in his replies in the first place, there were no grounds for the pretense that he lost interest precisely here.

    Paul Matthews, post #27, page 3:

    I touched on the topic of mismatch in my post #10, example 3:


    However, you may well come across singular override, as in

    Jill is one of the girls who is missing.

    which presumably can be attributed to the salience within the whole structure of singular "one". But it cannot be regarded as a semantically motivated override: semantically the relative clause modifies "girls".
    The sentence is syntactically ambiguous: the noun phrase "one of the girls who BE[present tense] missing" can have either of two different syntactic structures. In neither of them is there any point of speaking of an "override."

    If the relative clause is an adjunct of the noun phrase headed by "girls," the verb should be plural. If the relative clause is an adjunct of the noun phrase headed by "one," the verb of the relative clause should be singular.

    What decides between the two interpretations is semantic intention. Semantic intention will depend on the context. No context has been given. Therefore there is nothing that rules out either syntactically possible parsing.

    For the topic of "override" to apply here, the verb would need to be singular, with the semantics indicating that it would be perverse to interpret the relative clause as modifying anything other than "girls." That is not the case here.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 19-Dec-2020 at 16:32.

  8. #28
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    Re: Continuation of Closed Thread "Jill is one of the girls who is/are .

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    I think 'outrageously closed' is a little OTT.
    So did I. I have edited the title.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  9. #29
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Continuation of Closed Thread "Jill is one of the girls who is/are .

    NOT A TEACHER

    Here is a trick that one source suggests: Turn the sentence around. Instead of "James is one of those people who is/are computer illiterate," mentally rearrange the sentence as: "Of those people who ____ computer illiterate, James is one." It seems pretty clear that "are" is required in order to match "people."


    William Safire, No Uncertain Terms (2003), pages 336-339.


    P.S. The example sentence is mine, not Mr. Safire's.

  10. #30
    Phaedrus's Avatar
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    Re: Continuation of Closed Thread "Jill is one of the girls who is/are .

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    I was surprised to see that thread closed when an interesting discussion was still going on, but I think 'outrageously closed' is a little OTT.
    Sorry about that, and thank you for teaching me "OTT," which I assume means "over the top."

    I should have said "prematurely," but I was frustrated at being prevented from replying to PaulMatthews, who had effectively been given the last word.

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