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Thread: who & whom

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    #21

    Re: who & whom

    Hey Soup, thanks for your replies!

    here some of my deliberations!

    She likes my friend.

    I think that my friend is clever

    I am happy with: She likes my friend who is clever. ‘who is clever’ is an adjective clause.

    An adjective is not a noun. It cannot be a Direct object. A given clause in a sentence could be adjectival, or nominal. It cannot fulfill both functions simultaneously. A Noun Clause that describes itself!!!!
    If Engee asked you: So you think Peter is clever? You might reply, a look of shock and horror on your face:
    I think that who is clever? This is a question. It is not a declarative sentence.
    The Direct Object of I think, is you say after ‘that’ ie ‘who is clever’? You cannot turn a question into a Relative Clause because it suits you. Bit like saying a gerund is Present Participle Adjective, because they look the same.

    The Noun Clause object of I think is ‘who is clever? And functions in a question.
    The Relative Clause who is clever is adjectival, and follows the noun it describes. She likes my friend who is clever.
    She likes my friend.
    I think that my friend is clever.
    I think that who is clever? ‘who is clever?’ This here is a Noun clause.
    Test for a Noun Clause. Replace it with a pronoun. Who is clever refers to my friend, so take he.
    ‘I think that he.’ This is not grammatical. Nor is ‘I think that who is clever.’
    Neither can you take he, split it, putting h in front of I think and leaving e where it is!

    And that is why the whole construction is, in my opinion, invalid.

    PS 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: Not in the context of She likes my friend that who……..

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    #22

    Re: who & whom

    Hi Pedroski


    • She likes my friend who is clever.
    • ‘who is clever’ is an adjectiv[al] clause.

    Not just any adjectival clause, but a relative clause (RC) because it is headed by (starts with) a relative pronoun:

    • She likes my friend / my friend is clever.
    • She likes my friend / who is clever.
    Who stands for my friend. In the last example, above, there are actually 2 my friend phrases there, but one is dressed as who.

    Moving onward. You're right, an adjective is not a noun [in form], but adjectives can indeed function as nouns, at least substantively, meaning to stand in for a noun:
    Ex: Only the good die young.
    Good is an adjective in form but functions as a noun in the above clause. It's the subject of the sentence.


    Moving on. The direct object (no caps) of I think is a that-clause, notably, (that) ___ is clever.

    Moving on. You said who is clever is a noun clause, but wouldn't it have to be headed by a noun? It's not. it's headed by an relative pronoun, which makes it a relative clause. I mean, we are still talking about She likes my friend who is clever, right?

    Your "Test for a Noun Clause": "Replace it with a pronoun" is faulty:
    Ex:She likes my friend who is clever.
    Replace: She likes my friend he is clever.
    The replacement test renders the clause ungrammatical: there are two sentences there, which gives is a run-on sentences. There needs to be a period after my friend.
    In She likes my friend who is clever, who is already a pronoun, so we needn't replace it; moreover, it already replaces a noun phrase, notably my friend, which makes who a relative pronoun and the clause it heads a relative clause, not an noun clause. A noun clause looks like this:
    Ex: I think that my friend is clever.
    __________________
    Sorry, which "construction is invalid"? We've had so many ...
    __________________

    Agreed. She likes my friend *that who I think is clever is ungrammatical. We covered this before, though: *that who I think is clever doesn't work grammatically, because in order for who to modifies its noun my friend it needs to be next to it, but in our example it's separated from it by that.

    Cutting to the chase. Do you still hold that the following sentence is grammatical?

    • She likes my friend whom I think is clever.

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    #23

    Re: who & whom

    I am talking about
    She likes my friend who I think is clever.
    This is a simple quasi sentence, and I cannot draw it as a Reed Kelloggs cornflake, which tells me there is something wrong. It is not the Preamble to the Constitution of the USA.
    Agreed, who is clever is a Relative Clause. How can you then say it is the Direkt Object of I think? It would have to be a noun!
    Agreed, these beasts change their spots, but they can't be spotted and striped at the same time.
    If the Direct Object of I think is a Noun Clause, and you said it was, then it is who is clever. The whole clause must be replaceable with a pronoun, not just a part of it! The pronoun that springs to mind is he.

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    #24

    Re: who & whom

    Soup, you are nearly saying what I am saying, but you can't see the wood for the trees.


    Let us agree on the first bit: neither you nor I have problems with She likes my friend. I can diagram it in 10 seconds, it is grammatical and correct.


    We are left with 'who I think is clever.' Five words in a line. So far so good. Concentrate on these 5 words. Forget anything else.
    I must be a subject, or we would write me. Assuming we want a relative clause, then only who serves the purpose.
    We can make two clauses from these words: who is clever and I think.
    I don't think you would like I is clever and who think!
    The problem comes when you try to specify the relation between these two. You can't!
    Case 1.
    I think we both hold who is clever to be a relative clause, which is to say, an adjectival clause, describing my friend. This clause is then 'busy'. You cannot take it, for instance, as the object of anything, even if you were inclined to split it, more especially, as an adjective cannot be the direct object of any verb. That role is reserved for nouns or noun substitutes.
    Ask yourself now: What is the object of I think? This is the problem I face when I want to diagram the word collection.
    Your example from above: Only the good die young. I stick wantonly 'men' in there.
    Only the good men die young. Would you now say that the good is a noun and an adjective? ?
    There are no other clauses or words at your disposal to serve as the object of I think. So I think hangs in space, unconnected to anything. It is not part of the sentence, it has merely been stuck in there, and looks like it belongs. Having no object it is intransitive. As I said before, nice that you tell me that, but why do it in the middle of a relative clause?


    Case 2
    You have said I think takes a clause as its object. Which clause? Not who is clever? That is already an adjective. It can't do both jobs. Is there any other clause? I think cannot in fact take who is clever as an object in this example, because that would make a question. But more importantly, if it could, it would occupy who is clever in a noun phrase, preventing it from being an adjective phrase. I think does not take is clever as its object. Don't even go there!


    The whole construction who I think is clever is invalid. Try the diagram!
    Forget all that, write: She likes my friend, whom I think clever. (no is). I can diagram that in seconds, there are no problems.
    I make many mistakes, but I never confuse who and whom. In German we have wer wen wem wes or wessen, the last two being interchangeable. English is easy in comparison!

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    #25

    Re: who & whom

    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again
    and expecting different results
    .

    ~ Albert Einstein
    Quote Originally Posted by Pedroski
    What is the object of I think? This is the problem I face when I want to diagram the word collection.
    Its object is a clause. Have you learned about null subjects yet? Maybe now is a good time to research that.
    _________________________________

    Your example from above: Only the good die young. I stick wantonly 'men' in there. Only the good men die young. Would you now say that the good is a noun and an adjective?
    By adding in the noun men, the adjective good no longer functions substantively. It was always an adjective; its position (is what) made it a noun:
    • the (det) good (noun) die (verb) young (adjective)


    • the (det) good (adjective) men (noun) die (verb) young (adjective).

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    #26

    Re: who & whom

    One last question then Soup:

    Can you name the object of I think in who I think is clever and if you can, will you enlighten me as to which particular clause?

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    #27

    Re: who & whom

    My point with 'Only the good men die young' was simply: the good cannot be two things at once: a noun and an adjective. Either or! Take that analogy and apply it to the case in point.

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    #28

    Re: who & whom

    'In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane.' Oscar Wilde


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    #29

    Re: who & whom

    What a storm in a teacup!

    I like my friend who I think is clever = I like my friend + I think (who (=my friend) is clever)

    The object of 'like' (my friend) is modified by the subordinate adj. clause starting with the relative pronoun 'who'.

    EDIT:
    I forgot something:
    'who is clever' is the object of the verb 'think' in the subordinate clause.
    Last edited by svartnik; 30-Apr-2009 at 08:15. Reason: supplying additional info

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    #30

    Re: who & whom

    Well Svartnik, I'm glad you said that. That makes 'who is clever' a noun clause. (An adjective cannot be the object of a verb)

    Now tell me what words you wish to use to make the adjectival clause. There are none left!!

    You do agree that in any given sentence a grammatical entity can only fulfill one purpose? A noun cannot be at the same time an adjective?

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