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for who they are or for the people they are

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Yichen, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. Yichen

    Yichen Senior Member

    Hi everyone:

    Is the following sentence correct?

    ... and don't ignore them (the disabled) either. Just accept them for who they are, and give them encouragement to live as rich and full a life as you are.

    My question is,
    Should "for who they are" be "for the people who they are" or " for what they are", though the latter has changed a little in meaning.

    Thank you.
  2. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    English - South-East England
    All three are equally correct and natural. Although it is common to use 'what' for a person in this circumstance ('accept me for what I am'), in this particular case 'who' (or 'the people'*) might be more sensitive, as it makes them sound like individuals, where 'what' might suggest a fixed characteristic ('a disabled person').

    * more natural without 'who': 'the people they are'
  3. Yichen

    Yichen Senior Member

    ..."for who they are". seems unusual in grammar to what I have learnt because the object of a preposition is usually a noun or a clause introduced by what, whoever and the similar compound pronouns.

    Is "for who they are" a fixed phrase?

    Thank you again.

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