Relative pronouns - ... to work for a company <that, which, blank> my sister ...

Discussion in 'English Only' started by apblopes, Oct 4, 2006.

  1. apblopes Senior Member

    Portuguese, Brazil
    Hi,
    which is the best phrase and why?

    1) He is going to work for a company which my sister is used to work for.

    2) He is going to work for a company that my sister is used to work for.

    3) He is going to work for a company my sister is used to work for.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. daviesri Senior Member

    Houston, TX
    USA English
    None are correct. All could be correct with the following changes.

    #1. Move "for" to infront of "which" and removing "is".
    He is going to work for a company for which my sister used to work.

    #2. You need to remove the "is" before "used".
    He is going to work for a company that my sister used to work for.

    #3. Remove "is".
    He is going to work for a company my sister used to work for.
     
  3. rubes1 Senior Member

    Israel
    United States, English
    The correct sentence is sentence 2. In informal speech you could use 3 as well, as we often omit the "that" when talking.

    The reason you cannot use sentence 1 is because the "my sister used to work for" part is part of the main clause. The point of the sentence is not that he is going to work for just any company, it that he is going to work for a company his/her sister used to work for.

    I am sorry, I didn't not see the "is used to work for." You would have to remove the "is" for it to be correct.
     
  4. Lucretia Senior Member

    Russian
    You've got a mistake: my sister used to work for. No is.
    In my opinion, all of them look fine. It's possible to use which for restrictive clauses, isn't it?
     
  5. gwrthgymdeithasol Senior Member

    English, Wales
    On the contrary, they're all fine (as long as you remove the ungrammatical 'is'). They're all standard colloquial English (although the one with 'which' is probably the least used and the most informal).
     
  6. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Apart from the is, I think they are all OK too.

    In my personal order of preference:
    2) He is going to work for a company that my sister is used to work for.
    3) He is going to work for a company my sister is used to work for.

    As a matter of habit, I wouldn't use (1).

    There are some who insist that it is incorrect to use which to introduce a restrictive clause (but see below).
    If you know, or suspect, that you are writing for a context where this view is held, you would be well-advised to avoid (1).

    There are many prevous threads on that and which, including:
    which vs that from which I quote:

    New Fowler's Modern English Usage devotes half-a-page to this topic. It quotes the original 1926 Fowler:
    He suggests that it would be really helpful if writers would consistently use that to introduce restrictive clauses, which to introduce parenthetical, non-restrictive clauses. He concludes:
     
  7. apblopes Senior Member

    Portuguese, Brazil
    Thank you panj. I think it is a little bit clearer for me. I could observe that in Portuguese we have different constructions to translate that and which, at least as it has been placed in the examples. That is used in situations we normally use 'que' and which is much more used where the expression 'o qual' would be more appropriate.
    ps.: If some portuguese speaker has a different opinion, I would be happy to discuss it in private.
     
  8. gwrthgymdeithasol Senior Member

    English, Wales
    I never thought I'd say it, but excellent, balanced post, Panjandrum.
     

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