How to use THAT and WHO



I have some doubts about the usages of That and Who. Sometimes I read sentences such as. "You are someone I love" "You are someone WHO I love" Or "People were asked to describe the qualities they look for in a friend" "People were asked to describe the qualities THAT they look for in a friend"

Why in some of these sentences WHO or THAT are omitted and others are not. Could somebody help me with this? I'll appreciate it! Thanks a million.


Posted 2014-04-25T01:56:51.367

Reputation: 11

Question was closed 2014-04-28T13:16:17.320

3Welcoome to ELL! StackExchange deprecates cross-posting between SE sites, so please delete either this question or the same question on []. – StoneyB on hiatus – 2014-04-25T02:14:43.573



There are some rules about omitting relative pronouns from the sentences. I'll try outlining some of them:

a) Prefer keeping relative pronouns if you are dealing with a non-defining clause. For instance, The girl, who is identified as a terrorist, is the one we saw yesterday.
b) It's okay if you drop a relative pronoun if you are dealing with a defining clause. For instance, The girl (whom) we saw yesterday is found out to be a terrorist.
c) If a relative pronoun is modifying the object, you can drop the relative pronoun. If it's modifying subject, avoid removing it.

Other tips found here.

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Additional note: Just to add value to this answer. Though to some using that as a relative pronoun referring to a person may look less human, it has become quite a common practice.

From the American Heritage Dictionary:

It is entirely acceptable to write either the man that wanted to talk to you, or the man who wanted to talk to you.

Maulik V

Posted 2014-04-25T01:56:51.367

Reputation: 66 188


"You are someone WHO I love".. you cannot use this sentence to express your love on a person.. You can say "you are the one whom I love" or else you can say "you are among the people whom I love alot"..

If you want to show a person, you can say "I love that person"(informal) or "He is the person whom I love"(formal)..

----According to the rules of formal grammar, who should be used in the subject position in a sentence, while whom should be used in the object position, and also after a preposition.---

For example:

Who made this decision? [here, who is the subject of the sentence]

Whom do you think we should support? [here, whom is the object of support]

To whom do you wish to speak? [here, whom is following the preposition to]


Posted 2014-04-25T01:56:51.367

Reputation: 1