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76. Interrogative pronouns. The interrogative pronouns are who (possessive whose, objective whom), which, and what. The forms are the same for the singular and the plural.
77. Direct and indirect question. A question expressed in the form used by the person asking it is called a direct question; a question expressed in the form of a subordinate clause is called an indirect question:
1. Who are you? (Direct question.)
2. He asks, "Who are you?" (Direct question. The quoted sentence is the object of the verb asks; but it is not a subordinate clause, for it may stand alone as a sentence; § 8.)
3. He asks who you are. (Indirect question. The clause who you are is the object of the verb asks. It is a subordinate clause, for it may not stand alone as a sentence; § 8.)
78. Case. The case (§ 40) of an interrogative pronoun in an indirect question depends on how the interrogative pronoun is used in its own clause.
1. Who did it?
He asked who did it. (Who is the subject of did; who did it is the object of asked.)
2. Whom did he send?
I asked whom he sent. (Object of sent.)
3. Who went? It depends on who went. (Subject of went; the entire clause, who went, is the object of the preposition on.) 4. Whom did he send? It depends on whom he sent.
5. But who say ye that I am? - Matthew, xvi, 15 (Revised Version). (Predicate nominative after am; § 158.)
Who do you suppose it was?
79. Interrogative adjectives. The interrogatives which and what often modify nouns (§ 56); they are then interrogative adjectives (§ 116):
1. Which boys did he choose? I ask which boys he chose. 2. What man is that? You know what man that is.
The interrogative pronoun or adjective what is often used in exclamatory sentences:
What tall trees you have!
80. Gender. The interrogative who is masculine or feminine; which and what are masculine, feminine, or neuter.
THE RELATIVE PRONOUN
81. Relative pronoun. A relative pronoun connects a subordinate clause with a noun or a pronoun in a principal clause (§ 8):
1. She adopted the boy who had no mother.
2. He who perseveres will succeed.
NOTE. In the first sentence who is a relative pronoun; it not only is the subject of the subordinate clause who had no mother, but connects the clause with the noun boy in the principal clause. Similarly, in the second sentence, who connects the subordinate clause who perseveres with the pronoun he in the principal clause.
82. Adjective clause; antecedent. But the subordinate clause who had no mother (§ 81) is used like the adjective motherless, to modify boy; and who perseveres is used like the adjective persevering, to modify he (§ 113). A subordinate clause used like an adjective is called an adjective clause. The noun or pronoun modified by the clause (boy or he) is called the antecedent of the relative (who).
83. Relative pronouns. The relative pronouns are who (possessive whose, objective whom), which, what, that, as (for usage, see §93). Who (whose, whom) and which agree in form with the interrogative pronouns (§ 76); what, that, and as have no variation in form:
1. There is the flower girl whom Ann liked.
2. Is this the picture that (or which) you wish?
What, used as a relative pronoun, means that which or those which, and has the construction of both words:
He took what was (or were) left. (What is here both the object of took and the subject of was or were.)
NOTE. In the older language that and who were sometimes used similarly to what:
I earn that (= that which) I eat. SHAKESPEARE. (See the quotation at the beginning of the Preface, page iii.)
Who (he who) steals my purse steals trash.
84. Relative adjectives. The relatives which and what are sometimes used to modify nouns (§ 56); they are then relative adjectives (§ 116):
1. We stayed here twelve days, during which time the natives were very obliging to us. DEFOE.
2. He almost memorized what books he had.
85. That as adverb. After a noun denoting a point of space or of time the relative pronoun that is often used adverbially, meaning at which, in which, or on which:
1. In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. — THE BIBLE.
2. The night that he went to the play. — MARIA EDGEWORTH. 3. The next time (that) he calls she will not be at home. (That is often omitted.)
86. Gender. The relative pronouns who, which, that, and as have some peculiarities of gender. Who is masculine or feminine, and generally refers to persons; but it may be used of animals when they are spoken of as intelligent beings:
1. We like the boys (or girls ) whom you sent. 2. He has a dog who is more than human.
Which is neuter, and generally refers to things; but it may be used of animals, even when they are spoken of as masculine or feminine:
1. We like the book which you sent.
2. We like the pony which you sent; he is gentle.
That is masculine, feminine, or neuter (see § 93 also): 1. We like the book (or pony) that you sent.
2. They are the only boys (or girls) that I want.
3. He has a dog that is more than human.
As is masculine, feminine, or neuter. It may be used when the antecedent clause has such, same, as many, or the like: 1. We like such boys (or girls, or books) as you sent.
2. He sent the same as (he had sent) before.
3. It acted in the same way as before.
4. She has as many books as I have. (§ 269, N.)
87. Whose; caution. Whose may always be used as masculine or feminine, in referring to persons or to animals; in poetry (and sometimes in literary prose, for the sake of euphony) it is used of things also, even when they are not personified (§ 22); but in everyday use the sentence is generally improved by being recast:
1. That is the dog whose leg was broken.
2. Such is the city for whose sake these men nobly fought and died. (Whose is proper here because of the personal element in the antecedent.)
3. A religion whose creed they do not understand, and whose precepts they habitually disobey. — MACAULAY. (Whose is proper here because of the personal element in the antecedent.)
4. They came to a large lake, the shore of which was sandy. (Or, lake, with a sandy shore', the emphasis being slightly different, § 370; better than 'lake, whose shore was sandy ’.)
5. You will find words the meaning of which (better than 'whose meaning) you will have to guess at.
6. Two rectangles having equal altitudes (better than 'whose altitudes are equal ') are to each other as their bases.
7. There are three numbers, the sum of which is eleven. (Better than 'There are three numbers, whose sum is eleven '.)
8. A brick eight inches in height. (Not 'A brick whose height is eight inches '.)
88. Agreement. A relative pronoun agrees with its antecedent in gender, person, and number:
1. Harry boards with the women who employ him. (Feminine, third person, plural.)
2. Harry boards with the man who employs him. (Masculine, third person, singular.)
3. He is one of the best boys that have (not 'has', § 204) ever lived.
89. It as antecedent; agreement. In the sentence 'It was John that sent me' the antecedent of that is not John, but the indefinite subject it, meaning the person; that is, 'The person who sent me was John'. When a sentence begins with the indefinite subject it (§ 61), the relative pronoun does not agree in gender, person, and number with its antecedent, but • with the noun or pronoun which follows the principal verb (for the use of that after it, see § 93):
1. It is I that (or who) am to blame. (But, I am the one who is to blame.)
2. It is I, the woman, who suffer. (Not 'suffers '.)
3. It is I that (or who) say so. (But, I am the man who says so.)
4. It was they that (or who) were right.
5. It is you that (or who) were my friend.
6. It is not riches that make a man happy.
90. Case. The case (§ 40) of a relative pronoun is not determined by the antecedent of the relative, but by the use of the relative in its own clause (see § 99 also):
1. I saw the boy who called. (Subject of called.)
I saw the boy whom you sent. (Object of sent.)
2. Everybody whom she invited to tea came. (Object of invited.)
The man whom you wrote to is abroad.
(Object of to.)