as, that, what!!

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Stephanagreg

Senior Member
FRANCE FRENCH
Hello there,

"That's the same man as I saw yesterday" is no doubt correct.

I am also aware that many varieties of (mainly British - could someone confirm that?) English would have sentences like: "a dirty old rogue as reads other people's postcards" or "that's the boy what fights with other people".

Would any varieties of English accept phrases like "the same man that I saw yesterday" "such a din that I'd never heard before" or are these forms definitely avoided even in regional, colloquial speech?
 
  • timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    Stephanagreg said:
    Would any varieties of English accept phrases like "the same man that I saw yesterday" "such a din that I'd never heard before" or are these forms definitely avoided even in regional, colloquial speech?
    On the contrary, for me they are more common than the phrases involving "as".
     

    Stephanagreg

    Senior Member
    FRANCE FRENCH
    Well, I am certainly used to hearing this turn of phrase, but I am a little surprised that a good many EFL manuals or dictionaies recommend using as-constructions after "same" and "such", as in "It is the same robe as I saw her wear last year". I would have thought that this sentence would more naturally be heard as It is the same robe I saw her wear last year".
     

    ElaineG

    Senior Member
    USA/English
    From an AE perspective, I agree with timpeac. "That's the same man that I saw yesterday" sounds the most normal, and would not distress me at all if I heard it from a job candidate (and as I do a lot of interviewing, I've heard a lot of distressing things :)). I would definitely raise an eyebrow at "that's the same man what I saw yesterday" in a formal context as that sounds regional and non-standard to me.
     

    clapec

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Is "that is the same man I saw yesterday" correct?
    And what about "that is the same man whom I saw yesterday"?
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    clapec said:
    Is "that is the same man I saw yesterday" correct?
    And what about "that is the same man whom I saw yesterday"?
    Yes.
    This sounds strange to me, but I don't know if it is strictly "wrong" or not. It would certainly be very rare in speech.
     

    Stephanagreg

    Senior Member
    FRANCE FRENCH
    I cannot now resist asking you how you would perceive someone saying "It is the same robe as I saw her wear last year" in the course of a conversation.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    Stephanagreg said:
    I cannot now resist asking you how you would perceive someone saying "It is the same robe as I saw her wear last year" in the course of a conversation.
    Fine!:)
     

    river

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    That is the same man I saw yesterday. correct
    That is the same man who I saw yesterday. correct
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    "That's the same man that I saw yesterday?"
    I have stared at this for so long that I'm in danger of serious confusion. But I'm going with my first impression. It's not normal here. I'll take:
    "That's the man I saw yesterday." or
    "That's the same man as I saw yesterday." or .... well, I'm sure there are others.

    But "That's the same xxx that ..." definitely clunks.
     

    Stephanagreg

    Senior Member
    FRANCE FRENCH
    panjandrum said:
    "That's the same man that I saw yesterday?"
    I have stared at this for so long that I'm in danger of serious confusion. But I'm going with my first impression. It's not normal here. [it] definitely clunks.
    Ah! Interesting.
    Could I ask what you would make of "That's the same man I saw yesterday?" then?
     

    ElaineG

    Senior Member
    USA/English
    But "That's the same xxx that ..." definitely clunks.
    Here's the question though, Pan, does it clunk because you feel the doubled that is not euphonious or because it's gramatically wrong? It sounds like extremely normal speech to me, although it would make for clunky writing and I can't come up with any reason that the construction would be wrong.
    That is the same man who I saw yesterday. correct
    This is puzzling me (mostly because "whom" has almost dropped out of every day speech entirely, so I never feel like I have that good a grip on it). Wouldn't it be "whom" because it's the objective case (the object of "I saw yesterday", as in I saw him yesterday?)
     

    clapec

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Yes, I have been taught that in this case it would be possible to use whom, because it is the object, that ("This is the man that I saw yesterday") or to leave that out ("This is the man I saw yesterday").
    However, I do not know whether it would be right - in all probability, some of these forms are not actually used, especially in spoken English. ;)
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    "Whom" is the technically correct form, being the direct object form of "who". However, it's not used much in speech anymore and you would hear "who" much more often, although some purists might look down on it.
     

    Stephanagreg

    Senior Member
    FRANCE FRENCH
    I am not sure that most EFL manuals would not describe both "That is the same man who I saw yesterday" and "That is the same man whom I saw yesterday" as wrong.

    Although "That is the man who I saw yesterday" and "That is the man whom I saw yesterday" (the latter usually being described as more formal and, in fact , obsolete) are normally considered grammatically correct, the presence of same in the first part of the other constructions is usually described (I am still talking about what theorists say) as entailing the use of the conjuction (or preposition in other contexts) as.

    Do the native speakers on the board strongly disagree with this prescriptive stance?
     

    ElaineG

    Senior Member
    USA/English
    Iis the subject. Saw is the verb. Man is the direct object (who).
    No, what I was trying to say is that b/c man is the object, it's technically whom. But most of the people who actually observe the who/whom distinction in speech as opposed to formal writing are probably in my grandmother's retirement community (which is 80% ex-teachers :)). So if you stay away from there, you'll do just fine with who.
     

    river

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    I disagree. Whom would be incorrect. Who is the man you saw? That is the man who I saw. Direct object is who. Indirect is whom.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Following the interweaving conversations on this thread is not easy:) Fascinating, but not easy. Responding to questions about the familiarity/ acceptability of sentence structures based on a hypothetical sentence ain't easy neither:p . That was the source of the confusion I referred to earlier.

    That's the same man I saw yesterday?
    I wouldn't add that to my list - I don't understand what same is doing in that sentence.

    Clunky repeated thats.
    ElaineG is right, and she's on the trail of where my sense of "grammar" and "right" comes from. If it clunks, I won't use it. It clunks because it is not consistent with effective communication in English as observed over many years. So by my view of the world, if it clunks it is wrong. Wrong = risks failure of communication. Sorry I can't tie this back to a "rule" of grammar.

    That is the same man who I saw yesterday.
    Interesting. Now it can't be the repeated that that clunks:D
    What clunks this time is same without an explicit or implied as. Same and who just don't seem to go together. Of course they are adding no value to this sentence and in fact they are detracting from it.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    It would be helpful to the ongoing survival of brain if the who/whom conversation could be pursued separately.
    There have, of course, been many of these before.
    It is not directly relevant to this already tortuous, but otherwise entirely fascinating and entirely on-topic, set of conversations.
     

    ElaineG

    Senior Member
    USA/English
    ElaineG is right, and she's on the trail of where my sense of "grammar" and "right" comes from. If it clunks, I won't use it. It clunks because it is not consistent with effective communication in English as observed over many years. So by my view of the world, if it clunks it is wrong. Wrong = risks failure of communication. Sorry I can't tie this back to a "rule" of grammar.
    I tend to agree with you as matter of general philosophy, but each person has their own "clunks" which makes trying to offer guidelines to the non-native speaker tricky. For instance this damn sentence which I've now thought about forever and thought sounded clunky at first, now sounds completely right to me (if you think of it as an excited utterance as the guy passes by). "That's the same man that I saw yesterday!!!," whereas "that's the same man as I saw yesterday" may be technically correct but sounds a bit mealy-mouthed and awkward.

    I don't think any of the possibilities that have been suggested so far are going to get anyone into trouble or confuse the listener anywhere outside of a grammarians' convention, but that is probably a lazy cop out on my part.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    ElaineG said:
    I tend to agree with you as matter of general philosophy, but each person has their own "clunks" which makes trying to offer guidelines to the non-native speaker tricky.
    That is an important point. Those of us who rely on clunks need to be able to relate them to more formal reference sources if at all possible - indeed I believe there's a WR rule to that effect [Rule #11 comes close]:)

    I don't think any of the possibilities that have been suggested so far are going to get anyone into trouble or confuse the listener anywhere outside of a grammarians' convention, but that is probably a lazy cop out on my part.
    I'd swear that was at the end of MY last post.

    I can't nail any of the versions that I didn't like on any particular point of grammar. That's not to say they are grammatically correct; but I'd have to work quite hard to find out one way or the other:D
     

    Stephanagreg

    Senior Member
    FRANCE FRENCH
    ElaineG said:
    this damn sentence which I've now thought about forever and thought sounded clunky at first, now sounds completely right to me (if you think of it as an excited utterance as the guy passes by). "That's the same man that I saw yesterday!!!," whereas "that's the same man as I saw yesterday" may be technically correct but sounds a bit mealy-mouthed and awkward.

    I don't think any of the possibilities that have been suggested so far are going to get anyone into trouble or confuse the listener anywhere outside of a grammarians' convention, but that is probably a lazy cop out on my part.
    What I am about to say will no doubt confuse the issue a bit further (though it will not deviate from the topic :) ) ; but,

    might not the two sentences have two distinct meanings:

    1) "[That's the same man] that I saw yesterday!!!" = "What!!! Yesterday, I saw [the same man]!" (the first "that" does not refer to the man here , but is used only for the purpose of emphasis, as when you say "that's / (or) it's the first time I've been so sick on the bus"

    but,

    2) "That's [the same man as I saw yesterday]" = "Ah! [That man] is the same as the one I saw yestarday. (the first that this time refers to the man - that man ),

    so that the two sentences are indeed aceptable, but not with the same meaning. This is probably what accounts for the "clunking" - when one tries to understand one of them with the meaning of the other. Does that make sense to you?
     

    river

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    As much as I loath to admit mistakes, it is whom. And now I'll have my hat for dinner.
     

    Stephanagreg

    Senior Member
    FRANCE FRENCH
    river said:
    As much as I loath to admit mistakes, it is whom. And now I'll have my hat for dinner.
    I am not sure this will make a good meal, but it is certainly a delightful idiom (sorry for this digression).
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Good point - and to respond I would like to liberate myself from the hypothetical sentences that began the thread:)

    I'd like to suggest that many of us wouldn't say anything like that in normal circumstances. My alternatives, picking up on the theme of the variation in meaning, are down there in blue. Both assume appropriate stress and intonation.
    Stephanagreg said:
    1) "[That's the same man] that I saw yesterday!!!" = "What!!! Yesterday, I saw [the same man]!" (the first "that" does not refer to the man here , but is used only for the purpose of emphasis, as when you say "that's / (or) it's the first time I've been so sick on the bus"
    There's the man I saw yesterday!

    2) "That's [the same man as I saw yesterday]" = "Ah! [That man] is the same as the one I saw yestarday. (the first that this time refers to the man - that man ),
    I saw that man yesterday!
    Now that I've written them, of course, I realise that each of us would have our own alternatives. The point I want to make is that in normal conversation I would use a simpler construction and convey much of the meaning non-verbally.
     

    Tamlane

    Member
    English, Canada
    ElaineG said:
    No, what I was trying to say is that b/c man is the object, it's technically whom. But most of the people who actually observe the who/whom distinction in speech as opposed to formal writing are probably in my grandmother's retirement community (which is 80% ex-teachers :)). So if you stay away from there, you'll do just fine with who.
    Actually, where I live, people regularly observe the who/whom disticntion. I actually find it difficult to believe that some people don't. :) As far as a sentence like, 'That's the man I saw yesterday.' goes, I would find that correct. I would also find it correct if it were phrased, 'That's the man that I saw yesterday.' and that is actually the way I would phrase it. I understand, though, that in many variants people actually do just always drop the 'that' between 'man' and 'I'. I wonder if that is applied to formal written speech too, or just to their spoken English? I would observe the dropped 'that' in both cases.
     
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