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questions about the usage of "that" Options
robjen
Posted: Thursday, May 17, 2018 12:13:29 PM
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Joined: 2/17/2015
Posts: 487
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I am going to create a few sentences below.

(1) I still miss my father, who I loved very much.
(2) I still miss my father that I loved very much.

(3) I want to know about the country where I will visit soon.
(4) I want to know about the country that I will visit soon.



Most of my non-native English speaking friends think (1) and (4) are grammatically correct and the other two are wrong.

I am a little puzzled here. May I ask two questions?

(A) "That" works in (4). Why doesn't it work (1)?

(B) In (3), I am talking about a place. Why is it wrong to use "where"?

Thank you for your help.
NKM
Posted: Thursday, May 17, 2018 2:01:05 PM

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Location: Corinth, New York, United States
robjen wrote:
(1) I still miss my father, who I loved very much.
(2) I still miss my father that I loved very much.

══════════════════════════════════════════════

In (1), "who/whom I loved very much" is non-restrictive — that is, it does not serve to identify your father, but merely adds some information. (That's why it needs the comma.)
In (2), "that I loved very much" seems to be restrictive. It indicates which father you meant, but it's redundant; you've already said he's "my father".

But:
"I still miss the father that I loved very much." Changing "my father" to "the father" removes the redundancy, so we would use "that" (with no comma) to introduce the restrictive clause.

NKM
Posted: Thursday, May 17, 2018 2:42:13 PM

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Joined: 2/14/2015
Posts: 4,491
Neurons: 228,934
Location: Corinth, New York, United States
robjen wrote:

(3) I want to know about the country where I will visit soon.
(4) I want to know about the country that I will visit soon.



(B) In (3), I am talking about a place. Why is it wrong to use "where"?

══════════════════════════════════════════════

It may or not really be "wrong", but it doesn't quite feel right.

"Visit", as used here, is a transitive verb, and in this sentence the pronoun "that" serves as its direct object.
Note that "where" is neither noun nor pronoun; it's an adverb — not "that country" but rather "at that country".

But:
"I want to know about the country where I will visit some of my relatives." This works, because the "some of my relatives" is the direct object.

Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Friday, May 18, 2018 3:42:16 AM

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Joined: 9/12/2011
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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
The way I was educated (1960s, British), one would never use "that" for a person.

However, as NKM says, it would be redundant anyway.

If it were a person who could be 'plural' (one only has one father, so a restrictive clause seems odd) I would still use 'who', not 'that'.

I still miss my fiancée, who I loved very much. (I only ever had one fiancée)
I still miss the fiancée who I lived very much. (I have had more than one fiancée. I mean the one I loved, not one of the others, who I didn't really like . . .[!?])

**********
I agree with NKM about 'where'.
It's understandable, but it doesn't sound right.

One could omit it altogether (though I, personally, would change the tense).
"I want to know about the country I'll be visiting soon."

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
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