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Congress was the only place that/where there was .....

Discussion in 'English Only' started by jiamajia, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. jiamajia

    jiamajia Senior Member

    Mandarin
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lori_Berenson

    Lori Berenson, the American woman on parole after serving a long prison time in Peru once stated, "at that time in Fujimori’s dictatorship, Congress was the only place that there was some sort of democratic process.”

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    I would like to ask whether the that was correctly used, or it should have been replaced by the where.

    Thank you.
     
  2. Hau Ruck

    Hau Ruck Senior Member

    United States - Midwest
    English - U.S.
    I am not sure if one is more correct than the other, or if "that" is incorrect.

    One thing I can tell you, it's very commonly used in this way (even if it is incorrect). :)
     
  3. jiamajia

    jiamajia Senior Member

    Mandarin
    Is that because of the noun 'place' that allows people to take either one?

    How about a different noun as follows:

    New York is a state where/that there are more Obama's supporters than opponents.
     
  4. Hau Ruck

    Hau Ruck Senior Member

    United States - Midwest
    English - U.S.
    To be honest, I'm not quite sure. I often use one or the other, never knowing if it is truly correct.

    My point was, that it is very common usage; if you were to use either, most people would not care or even notice. :)
     
  5. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I think it's specifically to do with the word "place", jiamajia: I wouldn't, myself, say " a state that".

    There's an interesting comment by etb in an earlier thread of yours: click.
     
  6. jiamajia

    jiamajia Senior Member

    Mandarin
    Yes, I roughly remembered I had got a reply about the specialty of the 'place' that can take eitherwhere or that in that sort of situations. Thank you for the re-affirmation.
     
  7. gramman

    gramman Senior Member

    I don't have an answer to add here, but I do have a question that might help clarify things, for me at least.
    This seems fine to me, while, as others have observed:
    doesn't sound right (actually not at all to me).

    I'm thinking that the difference between these two examples seems to be that the first includes a dependent clause (has/contains more Obama's supporters than opponents), whereas the second uses an independent clause (there are more Obama's supporters than opponents). That is used here as a relative pronoun (I think). Replacing it with where (also, I believe, a relative pronoun in this context) allows for:
    So in the end, I'm confused (nothing unusual). Why does one relative pronoun allow for an independent clause, while another does not. And you can add to the mix in which, … which … again allows for an independent clause.
     
  8. Hau Ruck

    Hau Ruck Senior Member

    United States - Midwest
    English - U.S.
    And that is just it; A lot of native English speakers will say and write this incorrectly. It may not always be correct, but most of America (possibly in other native English vernacular as well) would not even bat an eyelash at such misuse. ;)
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013
  9. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I suppose it depends on your definition of "incorrect", Filsmith.

    For me, "a place that..." is perfectly correct, alongside "a place where..." - though I suppose "a place that..." is more informal.

    I do think etb puts it really well in the post I gave a link to:).
     
  10. Hau Ruck

    Hau Ruck Senior Member

    United States - Midwest
    English - U.S.
    Very true. I'd not consider it "incorrect". It's just that I've seen a few threads of this nature in the past, where people say that a place must be where.

    I should have included "incorrectly" in quotations in order to better get my point across. ;)

    I've never really found out if it's "correct" or "incorrect"; I only know that I certainly use any/all of the above without rhyme nor reason. :)
     
  11. gramman

    gramman Senior Member

    But can you say:
    Sure sounds flat out wrong to me.
     

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