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Thread: who & whom

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    #11

    Thumbs up Re: who & whom

    Really nice read, Soup.

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    #12

    Re: who & whom

    Encyclpaedia Soup, tell me if you disagree with this.

    We have: She likes my friend X I think is clever. X = who or whom. I say this is not a sentence, whatever you put for X.

    I have no problem with She likes my friend who is clever. But someone stuck an I think in there. So doing, they umade a perfectly good sentence.

    Clause 1 She likes my friend. Easy, draw it.

    There remain two other verbs and two other subjects with no relation to each other.

    Case 1 We have X I think as a clause.

    That gives us: I (subject) think (verb) X (object) That leaves is clever. Not a clause. Hanging useless at the end.

    Case 2: We have: 'X is clever.' X (subject) is (verb) clever (predicative adjective).That leaves 'I think'. A clause, stuck between 'X' and 'is' with no relation to anything in the sentence. If it said 'X apart from being strong and handsome is clever', I would allow it, but no, it says 'I think'. 'I think' Transitive? I think what? Intransitive? Great, so I think, but why am I telling you? Especially in the middle of a relative clause?
    You can't draw 'who I think is clever.' Too much verb! Or too many subjects.
    I can draw 'who in my opinion is clever'. Only one verb.

    Try and draw the diagram.

    Get rid of the 'is', and use 'whom', and we have a sentence.

    She likes my friend whom I think clever.
    'whom I think clever' is ellipsed. It should be 'whom I think to be clever.'

    You have to put to be on a pedestal, but everything fits.

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    #13

    Re: who & whom

    Hello Pedroski

    You mentioned that "You can't draw [a tree diagram for] 'who I think is clever.' Too much verb! Or too many subjects." On the contrary, there are just the right amount of verbs and just the right amount of subjects. Let me show you by explaining how the sentence came to be in the first place.

    Ex: She likes my friend who I think is clever.

    How to combine the following sentences into one.
    [1] She likes my friend.
    [2] I think my friend is clever.

    Step 1

    Find the redundant phrase and replace it with a relative pronoun:

    • my friend is the redundant phrase
    • my friend functions as the subject of the verb is, so replace it with a subject pronoun, who

    => I think who is clever <this is not a sentence; it's a step towards building another sentence>

      • Note, if my friend functioned as the object of the verb think, then the sentence *I think my friend should be grammatical, but it is not. The reason being, the verb think takes a clause as its object, and the 1st noun of that clause functions as the subject of that clause.

    Step 2
    [1] She likes my friend.
    => I think who is clever

    Relative pronouns modify the closest noun, so we'll need to move who closer to its noun:
    => She likes my friend who I think ____ is clever.
    The blank (____) represents the position from which we moved who. In linguistics, that movement is marked with a trace, as such:
    => She likes my friend whoi I think trace is clever.
    It's diagrammed as follows:

    IP She likes my friend who I think is clever
    NP She (subject of the sentence)
    VP likes my friend who I think is clever (predicate)
    V likes (main verb of the sentence)
    NP my friend who I think is clever (object of the verb likes)
    RC who I think is clever (a relative clause)
    NP who (a relative pronoun and subject of the verb is)
    IP I think is clever
    NP I
    VP think is clever
    V is (the verb in the second clause)
    AdjP clever (predicate adjective)

    Just the right amount of subjects and the right amount of verbs.

    ____________________________

    Ex: She likes my friend whom I think clever.

    Omitting the verb here *... whom I think (is) clever doesn't change the fact that *whom is ungrammatical. But you are on the right track in thinking that something appears to be missing; it's been moved actually: the semantic subject of the lower clause in I think my friend is clever has been replaced by who and moved to a position closer to its noun, giving ... who I think is clever.

  4. engee30's Avatar
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    #14

    Cool Re: who & whom

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post

    ____________________________

    Ex: She likes my friend whom I think clever.
    The above sentence is perfectly correct, Soup. The one below isn't tho':

    She likes my friend whom, I think, clever.

    Here are some more example sentences of the structure in question:

    In our block of flats, there are a few neighbours whom I think utterly unworthy to talk to.
    Henry seemed to be the one whom you would have thought easy to understand. In fact, he wasn't.
    Defferre, whom some think a lackluster speaker with little chance of success, represents the wistful inner hope for an end to political monologue and the beginning of dialogue in French politics.


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    #15

    Re: who & whom

    Quote Originally Posted by engee30 View Post
    The above sentence is perfectly correct, Soup. The one below isn't tho':

    She likes my friend whom, I think, clever.

    Here are some more example sentences of the structure in question:

    In our block of flats, there are a few neighbours whom I think utterly unworthy to talk to.
    Henry seemed to be the one whom you would have thought easy to understand. In fact, he wasn't.
    Defferre, whom some think a lackluster speaker with little chance of success, represents the wistful inner hope for an end to political monologue and the beginning of dialogue in French politics.

    Definitely ungrammatical, eng. You surprised me with your comment no end.

    She likes my friend who (I think) is clever = She likes my friend. + She is clever (I think).

    She likes my friend who (I think) is clever ≠ She likes whom. + Who is my friend and who is clever.

    Regarding your example sentences, they are a different kettle of fish.

    In our block of flats, there are a few neighbours whom I think utterly unworthy to talk to.

    "whom" is the object of "to"

    Henry seemed to be the one whom you would have thought easy to understand. In fact, he wasn't.

    undersand him/her/them/whom

    Defferre, whom some think a lackluster speaker with little chance of success, represents the wistful inner hope for an end to political monologue and the beginning of dialogue in French politics.

    whom = object of "think"

    EDIT: sorry

    http://dictionary.cambridge.org/defi...ong*7+0&dict=I

    She likes my friend whom, I think, clever.

    Punctuation aside, the above sentence is correct indeed. Do you think it is acceptable to place a comma between a verb and its object? I don't.

    She likes my friend whom, I think, clever.
    She likes my friend whom I think clever.
    She likes my friend, whom I think clever.
    Last edited by svartnik; 27-Apr-2009 at 01:31.

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    #16

    Re: who & whom

    Well, I am still not convinced, and I shall elaborate. This is getting to be fun!

    I think he is clever.
    This sentence has an unspoken unwritten that before he.

    It is not the that of a relative clause, as there is no antecedent. It does not refer to 'I', nor 'think', nor I 'think.'

    I think (that phrase again!) it is called an 'expletive that'. It shall come to haunt you!

    I think who is clever is actually I think that who is clever?

    So, move who, you could also move that.

    that who I think (trace) is clever.

    ?She likes my friend that who I think is clever.

    Or leave it there:

    ?She likes my friend who I think that is clever.

    The diagrams I referred to are the Kelloggs cornflakes type, in Reed boxes.

    Try and draw 'who I think is clever'

    Call it two clauses, 'I think' and 'who is clever'. What then is the connection between them? Where is 'I think' bound to 'who is clever'?

    'I think' is stuck between who and is. As I said above, replace it with 'in my opinion' and it works. But 'I think' cannot be a modifier of 'who'.
    Leave the unwritten 'that' in there, and it gets even more unmanageable.

    The original 'sentence' is not a sentence, and that is why it is causing problems.

    'She likes my friend whom I think clever' is, and can easily be drawn.

    Ding ding, next round!

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    #17

    Cool Re: who & whom

    Quote Originally Posted by svartnik View Post
    Regarding your example sentences, they are a different kettle of fish.

    In our block of flats, there are a few neighbours whom I think utterly unworthy to talk to.

    "whom" is the object of "to"

    Henry seemed to be the one whom you would have thought easy to understand. In fact, he wasn't.

    undersand him/her/them/whom

    Defferre, whom some think a lackluster speaker with little chance of success, represents the wistful inner hope for an end to political monologue and the beginning of dialogue in French politics.

    whom = object of "think"
    Svartnik, my point is as follows.

    I've got a friend. I think he/she is clever.
    I've got another friend. She likes my other friend.


    So, you can put everything in one sentence:
    She likes my friend who, I think, is clever.

    You can also say something like this:
    I've got a friend. I think him/her clever.
    I've got another friend. She likes my other friend.


    Again, you can put everything in one sentence:
    She likes my friend whom I think clever.

    The example sentences from my previous post referred to the sentence right above, where whom is the object of the verb think.

    You're right - the sentence below was a bit different to the sentence being referred to:
    In our block of flats, there are a few neighbours whom I think utterly unworthy to talk to.

    So let me change it a touch so that it corresponds to my point:
    In our block of flats, there are a few neighbours whom I think utterly disgusting (or utterly clever, if you like).


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    #18

    Re: who & whom

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedroski View Post
    I think he is clever.

    Th[at] sentence has an unspoken unwritten 'that' before 'he'.
    Right! Which is why we know he is clever is a clause. The 'unspoken' that is not an expletive. Notice also that it does not replace he:
    Ex: I think that he is clever.
    Ex: I think that who is clever?
    Let's put it in a context:

    Sam: Pat thinks that Robin is clever.
    Pat: I think that who is clever?!


    Your point is that think is followed by that, which it is, no argument here, but then you move it away from its verb in She likes my friend that who I think is clever. Why?

    Moving on. In the example below, that sounds odd, as you note:


    Ex: ?She likes my friend who I think that is clever.

    Having moved who, that now functions as the subject of is, which is why the sentence sounds odd. The verb is has two subjects, who and that.


    Moving on. You mentioned the two clauses 'I think' and 'who is clever', and ask,
    "What then is the connection between them? Where is 'I think' bound to 'who is clever'?"
    The connection is the clause introduced by that. The verb think takes a clause as its object:
    Ex: I think (that) ....
    Diagram it as follows:

    VP (verb phrase) branches into V think & CP that ...
    CP (complement phrase) branches into C that & IP trace is clever
    IP (inflectional phrase) branches into NP (noun phrase) trace & VP is clever
    VP (verb phrase) branches into V (verb) is & AdjP (adjectival phrase) clever


    Note, complement phrase (CP) is a misnomer in the literature. That is not a complement in the same sense that friend is a complement in They call him friend.

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    #19

    Re: who & whom

    Hey Soup, it was you who moved 'who'. I don't want who at all. Nowhere.

    I simply point out, that, if you want to split up the noun clause 'who is clever', as you apparently do, then that leaves you two choices: move the 'that' with 'who', or leave it there. Either way you are in trouble. Position counts for something in a sentence.

    You will agree, won't you, that neither ' that who I think is clever' nor 'who I think that is clever' is English?

    I think 'I think' takes 'that' as its Direct Object, as 'that' directly follows it. 'who is clever' is an explanation of 'that what I think'.

    I am investigating, will report back!


    'I hope', 'I suppose', 'I reckon', even 'I said' can function like this.

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    #20

    Re: who & whom

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedroski View Post
    ... if you want to split up the noun clause 'who is clever', as you apparently do, then that leaves you two choices: move the 'that' with 'who', or leave it there. Either way you are in trouble. Position counts for something in a sentence.
    Pedroski, in I think that who is clever?, that is superfluous. It's not required by the semantics of the grammar, which is why we can omit it:
    Ex: I think (that) who is clever?
    Its purpose is to flag an oncoming clause, notablythe clause who is clever, which, by the way has the structure SVSC. Who = S(ubject), is = V(erb), and clever = SC (Subject Complement).

    Its function is much like that of a conjunction, and you can omit that if it functions as a conjunction because it doesn't house any semantic context.

    But, if you omit who, then that will automatically fill the subject slot:
    Ex: I think that who is clever?
    Ex: I think that is clever.
    The subject that now functions as a demonstrative pronoun; e.g., that = what I just saw:
    Ex: I think (that) that/what the guy just did is clever.
    Moving on. You asked if I agreed that that who I think is clever is not English. I disagree. It's English, not to mention grammatical:
    Ex: I think that who is clever?
    Moving on. That the verb think "takes 'that' as its Direct Object" is possible. It would have to function as a demonstrative pronoun though:
    Ex: I think that.
    E.g., I think (that) the sky is blue.
    That stands for the phrase the sky is blue; moreover, notice the ungrammaticallity here:
    Ex: I think (that) that.
    Demonstrative that is a pronoun, not a clause, which is why is cannot co-occur with conjunction that, which is the very reason the clause who is clever can co-occur with conjunction that.



    In short,

    superfluous-that + clause; e.g., I think (that) who is clever?
    demonstrative-that + verb; e.g., I think that.

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