It is I/me who determine/s how they treat me.

Thomas Tompion

Senior Member
English - England
<<This thread has been split from monotony: repetition of the same phrase
which includes the sentence
and always remember that it is you who determines how they should treat you'' >>


I'd go for the first of Dimcl's options. I mention this because I want also to point out that it should be: you who determine. Funny how that mistake survived all the other changes: I suppose the third person force of the impersonal it is stopped it being obvious.
 
  • Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    I'd go for the first of Dimcl's options. I mention this because I want also to point out that it should be: you who determine. Funny how that mistake survived all the other changes: I suppose the third person force of the impersonal it is stopped it being obvious.

    This is interesting to me, Thomas, and I wonder if you'd help clear up my misunderstanding of the "determine" issue. I'm not sure why you're saying that it's "determine" rather than "determines".:confused:
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    This is interesting to me, Thomas, and I wonder if you'd help clear up my misunderstanding of the "determine" issue. I'm not sure why you're saying that it's "determine" rather than "determines".:confused:
    I determine, you determine, he determines, etc.
    I who determine, you who determine, he who determines, etc.

    Nothing more complicated than that. The English present tense has an s added in the third person singular, nowhere else. You are the subject of the sentence, so we say you who are the subject of the sentence, not you who is the subject of the sentence.

    That's why I was wondering where the strong third person singular force, which seems to be affecting people, must be coming from.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    It determines.
    I determine, you determine, it determines.

    It is X who determines ...

    The subject of the sentence is not X, is it?

    It is I/me who determine/s how they treat me.

    Could this be possible?
    It is I who determine how they treat me.
    ... or should it be ...
    It is me who determines how they treat me.
    ... or some alternative.
    I've given up.
     

    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    I determine, you determine, he determines, etc.
    I who determine, you who determine, he who determines, etc.

    Nothing more complicated than that. The English present tense has an s added in the third person singular, nowhere else. You are the subject of the sentence, so we say you who are the subject of the sentence, not you who is the subject of the sentence.

    That's why I was wondering where the strong third person singular force, which seems to be affecting people, must be coming from.


    So, are you saying that this is consistent in this sentence structure no matter what the word is? Is it correct if I say:

    "and always remember that it is you who decide how they should treat you"
    OR
    "and always remember that it is you who envision how they should treat you"

    If I said "and always remember that you determine..." (without the "it is"), then I would agree that the subject is "you" and the correct form is determine. Isn't the subject of the sentence "it" and not "you"?
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    So, are you saying that this is consistent in this sentence structure no matter what the word is? Is it correct if I say:

    "and always remember that it is you who decide how they should treat you"
    OR
    "and always remember that it is you who envision how they should treat you"

    If I said "and always remember that you determine..." (without the "it is"), then I would agree that the subject is "you" and the correct form is determine. Isn't the subject of the sentence "it" and not "you"?



    Yes, exactly. You couldn't say it is you who is required...: it's got to be it is you who are required....

    Always remember it is you who determine... The relative who refers to you and is the subject of the verb in the relative clause, and therefore determines its person and number. Always remember it is you who determines is just as wrong as I determine, you determines, he determines..

    It is strange how strong a third person force that it is gives to the sentence.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It determines.
    I determine, you determine, it determines.

    It is X who determines ...

    The subject of the sentence is not X, is it?

    It is I/me who determine/s how they treat me.

    Could this be possible?
    It is I who determine how they treat me.
    ... or should it be ...
    It is me who determines how they treat me.
    ... or some alternative.
    I've given up.

    You mustn't give up, Panj. It's an interesting point:

    If you say it's me, then you must say it's me who determines.

    If you say it's I, then you must say it's I who determine.

    I prefer it's I who determine.
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    1. Should we add more confusion by adding (as Panj did) an extra issue into the pot, namely the "nominative vs objective case" controversy?
    Maybe we can't avoid it.
    You mustn't give up, Panj. It's an interesting point:

    If you say it's me, then you must say it's me who determines.

    If you say it's I, then you must say it's I who determine.
    2. I agree but the question remains as to why it is so. I think it's a problem of unmatching registers rather than one of pure syntax. After all, both I and me are 1st person pronoun, aren't they? Therefore, shifting from one to the other shouldn't change anything to the verb form.

    3. Let's see how we feel when we use "be" instead of "determine"
    (1) It's me who is tired
    (2) It's I who is tired
    (3) It's me who am tired
    (4) It is I who am tired.

    If we agree to follow Thomas Tompion's opinion about the original sentence and accept all the consequences, then (4) would be the best option. While I might agree about "it is I who determine", I'm not sure I like "it is I who am tired" that much. It is correct indeed, but how does it sound, really? (note: I chose to change it's to it is, to match with the apparent formality of the sentence).

    As previously suggested, (3) doesn't work because it mixes two different registers.

    4.
    Like Panjandrum, I really find it hard to decide and might be tempted to "give up".
    Only, as using "it is NP who" seems to create problems (as it often does), I'd be inclined to choose a different wording and say:

    and remember, you're the one who determines how they should treat you.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Hi LV4,

    Don't your (2) and (3) sound wrong to you? I couldn't say them. I've heard, often, and could just say (1) - probably in the form 'It's me who's tired'. I prefer to say 'it's I' than 'it's me', so it's not surprising that (4) is my favoured option. I know it sounds a bit biblical to some people - remember those disciples saying 'Lord, is it I?'

    You make a good point about both I and me being first-person pronounds. I had, probably wrongly, assumed that the accusative case pushed me into the third person. It seems to be what my ears are telling me.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    I think who as subject in a relative clause takes on the person and number of what it modifies:

    You who know what is going on are in the best position to take responsibility. [not "you who knows"]

    The person and number is notional rather than formal:

    Our Father Who art in heaven ... [addressing our heavenly Father]
    Our Father Who is in heaven ...
    [saying something about Him]

    The who clause normally modifies what immediately precedes, which is not always the subject:

    It is you who are hurting yourself when you do things like that. :tick:
    It is you who is hurting yourself when you do things like that. :cross:
    It is you who is hurting himself when .... :confused:

    But a sentence of the form "It is ... that ..." is a cleft sentence, and can be thought of as a device for bringing an element of the sentence forward:

    It is in doing this that we find happiness.
    = We find happiness in doing this.

    By this "=" sign, I mean the sentence has the same basic meaning though the emphasis is different.

    Cleft sentences often resemble other things, but they can have different rules. One is that the relative/interrogative word normally becomes that:

    How we find happiness is in doing this.
    It is in doing this how we find happiness. :cross:

    It is in doing this that we find happiness. :tick:

    When the relative/interrogative word is who, an interesting thing happens:

    Who should take responsibility is you who really know.
    It is you who really know that should take responsibility. [cleft sentence]
    It is you who really know who should take responsibility. [ambiguous alternative]

    Who is responsible is you who really know.
    It is you who really know that is responsible. [cleft sentence]
    It is you who really know who are responsible. [alternative, unambiguous because of the second are]

    Who really knows who's responsible is you.
    It is you that really knows who's responsible. [cleft sentence]
    It is you who really know who's responsible. [alternative, unambiguous because of the 's]

    Who determines how they should treat you is you.
    It is you that determines how they should treat you. [cleft sentence]
    It is you who determine how they should treat you. [alternative, unambiguous in the context of the original sentence]
     
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    NevenaT

    Senior Member
    Serbian/Croatian
    @Forero
    I know this is an old thread, but this question about who has/have popped in my mind today, and it's really puzzling.
    Let's look at it this way:
    It is I who am responsible.
    Analysis: dummy 'it' functioning as the subject of the sentence. The predicate of the sentence is a nominal one because we use a copulative verb 'to be'. Hence we have to use 'I' instead of 'me' (which is ever so common in colloquial speech). Then this predicate consists of a predicative nominal, which is the clause 'I who am responsible'. We further analyse the pr. nominal.
    'I' is rhe subject of the clause, I'm not sure about the function of the relative pronoun 'who', I'm not even sure it's a pronoun in this case, I'll check. And then what naturally follows is again a verb phrase, yet another nominal predicate and it is unequivocally possible to use only am.
    Am I the only one who's analysed it this way?
     
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    NevenaT

    Senior Member
    Serbian/Croatian
    I think that in this example we're dealing with 2 instances of colloquial vs. standard speech. I and me, and am and is. The former ones should be correct according to grammar I suppose.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    I think that in this example we're dealing with 2 instances of colloquial vs. standard speech. I and me, and am and is. The former ones should be correct according to grammar I suppose.
    Cleft sentences are a special case. For example, consider the following:

    Why I left is because you asked me to.
    The reason I left is because you asked me to.
    The fact that you asked me to is why I left.
    The fact that you asked me to is the reason I left.
    The reason I left is that you asked me to.
    It is because you asked me to that I left.


    Each of these uses the same "copulative verb" is to equate the reason for which I left with the fact that you asked me to.

    In each case except the last, the "I left" part is on the opposite side of the "is" from the "you asked me to" part.

    The last sentence in this set is a cleft sentence. The clauses are rearranged, but the sense of the sentence is the same. So, even though the "I left" part is after the predicate, it is not really part of the predicate but a defining clause for the "dummy" it.

    And just as this "It is ... that I left" means "The reason I left is ...", "It is you that determines how they should treat you" means "The person that determines how they should treat you is you."

    The predicate in my example is not "is because you asked me to that I left", but just "is because you asked me to", and the predicate in "It is you that determines how they should treat you" is not "is you that determines ..." but "is you" only.

    If the relative clause were part of the predicate, it would begin "who determine", to agree with "you". But since it isn't, it doesn't.

    The "who determine" version, however, is not wrong. It is ambiguous because of confusion about what is being modified, and as a cleft sentence it is less natural than the "that determines" version as well as being illogical, but it is idiomatic.

    By the way, the pronoun "I" is awkward in stressed position, since it consists of a vowel by itself. Even in formal speech, most English speakers usually say "It is me", not "It is I", because the pronoun in the predicate is in stressed position and is not a subject. (The same thing happens obligatorily in French, where the predicate pronoun is in "disjunctive", i.e. stressed, form, not subjective form and in fact the subject pronoun is little more than a consonant by itself and would be difficult/unnatural to stress.)

    In Old English, "Hit æm ic" (= "It am I") was the norm, but now the predicate pronoun has lost its claim to subjecthood and the verb has become third person is. In Modern English, we have a choice to use a stressed pronoun ("me", like "moi" in French) or to use the subject pronoun "I" despite the awkwardness and despite the verb's being "is" instead of "am". Further confusion comes from the fact that some native speakers use "I" as a stressed form (e.g. "between you and I", "not right for Sarah and I to be alone together").
     

    Jimbob_Disco

    Senior Member
    British English
    Definitely ‘I’.

    Lots of English people get this wrong, but a general rule is:
    The sentence must make sense with all extraneous data extrapolation.
    For example:

    • You and I went to the cinema :tick:
    • Me and you went to the cinema :cross:
     

    NevenaT

    Senior Member
    Serbian/Croatian
    So what I've gathered is that both versions are possible, but the one with ''determines'' is actually the logical solution because the verb actually corresponds to the subject "it'' when it comes to cleft sentences. However, it could also be a matter of different analyses in linguistics! Take a look at this Wikipedia article on cleft sentences: Cleft sentence - Wikipedia (look under structural issues).
    And what's even worse is that it seems everyone is avoiding the usage of examples with present tenses, verb to be and personal pronouns in singular, there's not one example either on the Cambridge Dictionary website or anywhere else (trustworthy) to be found. Cleft sentences ( It was in June we got married .) - English Grammar Today - Cambridge Dictionary

    "Between you and I" is this now colloquial? I thought the objective pronoun is to be used in prepositional phrases? This is now completely opposite from what speakers are doing with "It is I".
    I get what you're trying to say about the disjunctive form in French ("C'est moi", not "C'est je"). In my native language it's used as a personal pronoun when in the same construction.

    @Jimbob_Disco We've learnt only BrE at school, and now I find it confusing because I don't know if it's the matter of varieties or some other issue. However, I'd also always definitely opt for "It is I", although it's very common to hear "it's me".
     

    Jimbob_Disco

    Senior Member
    British English
    So what I've understood is that both versions are possible, but the one with ''determines'' is actually the logical solution because the verb actually corresponds to the subject "it'' when it comes to cleft sentences. However, it could also be a matter of different analyses in linguistics! Take a look at this wikipedia article on cleft sentences: Cleft sentence - Wikipedia (look under structural issues).
    And what's even worse is that it seems everyone is avoiding the usage of examples with present tenses, verb to be and personal pronouns in singular, there's not one example either on the Cambridge Dictionary website or anywhere else (trustworthy) to be found. Cleft sentences ( It was in June we got married .) - English Grammar Today - Cambridge Dictionary

    I get what you're trying to say about the disjunctive form in French ("C'est moi" not "C'est je"). In my native language it's used as a personal pronoun when in the same construction.

    @Jimbob_Disco We've learnt only BrE at school, and now I find it confusing because I don't know if it's the matter of varieties or some other issue. However, I'd also always definitely opt for "It is I", although it's very common to hear "it's me".
    I’m a BE speaker, and, trust me, my rule is foolproof!
     

    NevenaT

    Senior Member
    Serbian/Croatian
    Well I guess nowadays it's more and more widely used, and one day it really will become a norm, but I don't think it's so yet. I need to ask some well-versed linguist about this, it's mind-boggling. And it's also true that there're different analyses in different branches of linguistics, so everything is possible.
    I just find it easier to stick to one variety then to use a bit of both, I think it's wiser that way, but under no circumstances do I think BE is in anyway superior to AE or vice versa.
     

    NevenaT

    Senior Member
    Serbian/Croatian
    I guess this explains your point (if you're not lazy to go through it) https://www.ling.uni-potsdam.de/~zimmermann/teaching/clefts/1-Syntax.pdf.
    If it's indeed as you and this study say, then the cleft construction (who determines how they should treat me) corresponds to it.
    It is me who determines who they should treat me.
    The one who determines how they should treat me
    is me.

    There's even an example as mine (with responsible), but they used "It is me...", this is getting more and more confusing. :confused:
     
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    Forero

    Senior Member
    Definitely ‘I’.

    Lots of English people get this wrong, but a general rule is:
    The sentence must make sense with all extraneous data extrapolation.
    For example:

    • You and I went to the cinema :tick:
    • Me and you went to the cinema :cross:
    You and I am here. :confused:

    The actual subject of course is not "I"/"me" but the compound "You and I/me", which is plural. Within such a compound the pronouns are stressed, and "me" is more natural in stressed position for most English speakers although we learn in school that it "should" be "I". This is the reason "lots of English people get this wrong" and speakers of other languages don't have the same cause for hesitation. In French for example, as I have said, the strict rule is never to use the subject form of the pronoun in such a stressed position and native speakers get it right. In German, on the other hand, subject pronouns are the only choice in compound subjects, the equivalent of "It am I" is the norm, and native speakers get that right.

    We "get this wrong" because there is a conflict within the English language itself, a conflict that has been around ever since the verb in "It is I/me" became "is" instead of "am", sometime between the days when French speakers ruled England and the days when "rules" were taught in "grammar schools" to prepare students to learn Latin.
    So what I've gathered is that both versions are possible, but the one with ''determines'' is actually the logical solution because the verb actually corresponds to the subject "it'' when it comes to cleft sentences. However, it could also be a matter of different analyses in linguistics! Take a look at this Wikipedia article on cleft sentences: Cleft sentence - Wikipedia (look under structural issues).
    And what's even worse is that it seems everyone is avoiding the usage of examples with present tenses, verb to be and personal pronouns in singular, there's not one example either on the Cambridge Dictionary website or anywhere else (trustworthy) to be found. Cleft sentences ( It was in June we got married .) - English Grammar Today - Cambridge Dictionary
    Here is a pair of examples that has come up before in this forum:

    What are most crucial is clear explanations.
    It is clear explanations that are most crucial
    .

    Notice the use here of "is" and "are", and compare these cleft sentences with this conversation:

    What things are most crucial?
    I have no idea. I just don't know what things are most crucial.
    It is clear explanations. Clear explanations is the answer.


    Notice that "what things are most crucial" looks plural but isn't and is referred to as "it" in the next sentence.

    Yes, clear explanations are the things that are most crucial, but "I just don't know what things are most crucial" does not mean "I just don't know clear explanations." It means "I just don't know the answer to the question "What things are most crucial?".

    If "what things are most crucial" referred to the things themselves, the clear explanations, it would be plural, but since it actually refers to the answer to the question, it is singular.

    For the same reason, "what are most crucial" and "it" (modified by "that are most crucial") in the cleft sentences are singular.

    Still, native speakers might also say "What are most crucial are clear explanations", which is confusing the answer with the things themselves.
    "Between you and I" is this now colloquial? I thought the objective pronoun is to be used in prepositional phrases? This is now completely opposite from what speakers are doing with "It is I".
    Right. This is commonly considered to be overcorrection. The theory is that someone grows up hearing "You and me" as both subject and object (with "me" as a disjunctive form) but learns in school that they "should" say, for example, "You and I are here". They then internalize "I" as a "preferred" disjunctive pronoun and start saying things like "between you and I".

    Unfortunately there are whole communities where everybody says things like "between you and I" and thus it has become their version of "natural", not personal misunderstanding.
    I get what you're trying to say about the disjunctive form in French ("C'est moi", not "C'est je"). In my native language it's used as a personal pronoun when in the same construction.

    @Jimbob_Disco We've learnt only BrE at school, and now I find it confusing because I don't know if it's the matter of varieties or some other issue. However, I'd also always definitely opt for "It is I", although it's very common to hear "it's me".
    This is not a matter of BrE vs. AmE, nor is it completely a matter of formal vs. colloquial. It is a centuries-old conflict in the English language itself.
    I guess this explains your point (if you're not too lazy to go through it) https://www.ling.uni-potsdam.de/~zimmermann/teaching/clefts/1-Syntax.pdf.
    If it's indeed as you and this study say, then the cleft construction (who determines how they should treat me) corresponds to it.
    It is me who determines who they should treat me.
    The one who determines how they should treat me
    is me.

    There's even an example like mine (with responsible), but they used "It is me...", this is getting more and more confusing. :confused:
    Good find, and I agree with most of it. (I would not mark "It wasn’t John who/that did anything to help" with "*". It sounds fine to me.)

    In fact, replacing "is" with "am" in "It is me who is not satisfied with himself" requires replacing "me" with "I" and "himself" with "myself". Then it becomes acceptable, though illogical.

    I prefer the logical versions myself, with that, not who.
     

    Tyrion Lann

    Senior Member
    INDIA -Hindi
    what I think is, the word "who" can be used either as a subject or as a object, and it depends whom who is referring to.

    It is me (object) who ( object) is to be blamed [edited]
    It was I (subject) who (subject) killed all of them.

    It was your dad who ( subject) called me last night.
    It is your dad who (object) should be killed not you.


    The original question is:
    It is I/me who determine/s how they treat me.

    Who works as a subject so I would never use me, I would say -It is I who determine how they treat me.
     
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    Jimbob_Disco

    Senior Member
    British English
    what I think is, the word "who" can be used either as a subject or as a object, and it depends whom who is referring to.

    It is me (object) who ( object) got injured.
    It was I (subject) who (subject) killed all of them.

    It was your dad who ( subject) called me last night.
    It is your dad who (object) should be killed not you.


    The original question is:
    It is I/me who determine/s how they treat me.

    Who works as a subject so I would never use me, I would say -It is I who determine how they treat me.
    Nearly...
    It is I who determines how they treat me.

    Also in your examples above, the first one should be ‘it is I who got injured’, because, when you remove the extraneous information, the phrase is it is I who got injured.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    what I think is, the word "who" can be used either as a subject or as a object, and it depends whom who is referring to.

    It is me (object) who ( object) got injured.
    It was I (subject) who (subject) killed all of them.

    It was your dad who ( subject) called me last night.
    It is your dad who (object) should be killed not you.


    The original question is:
    It is I/me who determine/s how they treat me.

    Who works as a subject so I would never use me, I would say -It is I who determine how they treat me.
    In I got injured, I is the subject.

    It is I who determines how they treat me.
    I think Shri is correct about this. There should be no s on determine. I deternine, you determine, etc.
     

    Jimbob_Disco

    Senior Member
    British English
    In I got injured, I is the subject.


    I think Shri is correct about this. There should be no s on determine. I deternine, you determine, etc.
    I know what you’re saying, but I just don’t think it sounds right - I wrote what, to me, sounded natural. Now you’ve pointed this out, I haven’t a clue!
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I know what you’re saying, but I just don’t think it sounds right - I wrote what, to me, sounded natural. Now you’ve pointed this out, I haven’t a clue!
    The first few posts in the thread discuss this at some length.

    It is a mistake which people do make, which is maybe why it sounds natural to you.

    Given that I don't think people would easily say I who determines, we need to consider why the inititial It is makes such a difference to their perceptions.
     

    NevenaT

    Senior Member
    Serbian/Croatian
    I finally managed to reach a renowned professor of descriptive grammar at the department for English at the uni here in Belgrade, and she told me that it's formally and grammatically only acceptable "It is I who am responsible". She sent me a more or less detailed analysis, and in the nutshell it is that we have [It + (is + I who am responsible)]. So subject + predicate. Everything after the predicative "is" must comply with that copula. "I who am responsible" is just a noun phrase, but it's modified by a defining clause and the whole phrase functions as the predicative nominal here. In this noun phrase "I" is the head and it governs the rest of the phrase. "Who" is the subject of the defining clause which is the noun phrase complement and modifies "I" just like an adjective would. So the relative clause must be governed by "I", the head.
    You need to dissect sentences if you want to really untangle all the grammatical threads. I hope this makes it clear. This is a question of descriptive vs prescriptive grammar. But in spite of that, she told me it's not yet that accepted in dg to use "it's me".
    She also noted that it's colloquial and acceptable in some social contexts to use "It's me who is responsible" but definitelly not normative.
     
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    NevenaT

    Senior Member
    Serbian/Croatian
    "It's me" is under no account normative, but it's become so colloquial that one mistake now leads to another. Objective pronouns accept only infinitives and participles (you don't say "Him eats dinner" or "her plays with dolls" *unless plays had a meaning of a theatrical play or sth else, not verb but noun, in that case it'd be a possessive adjective not a pronoun) so we get this hybrid "who is responsible" idk why, but I guess because of "it". Me does have the 'authority' to govern the defining clause that follows, but that doesn't happen, so then "who" resorted to coupling with "is".
    "She told me, who am trustworthy in her opinion, to keep the secret." Here all is according to rule, so why isn't it in the example above? Bad grammar-you can't restore a broken tooth, only fill it, and this is some wrong filling for this patient, but they can still chew.
    I hope this is not all jumbled up and complicated to comprehend. The point is, we can't analyse them properly because the wrong constituents are used and there're just black holes everywhere because the rules can't be applied.
     
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    Forero

    Senior Member
    I finally managed to reach a renowned professor of descriptive grammar at the department for English at the uni here in Belgrade, and she told me that it's formally and grammatically only acceptable "It is I who am responsible". She sent me a more or less detailed analysis, and in the nutshell it is that we have [It + (is + I who am responsible)]. So subject + predicate. Everything after the predicative "is" must comply with that copula. "I who am responsible" is just a noun phrase, but it's modified by a defining clause and the whole phrase functions as the predicative nominal here. In this noun phrase "I" is the head and it governs the rest of the phrase. "Who" is the subject of the defining clause which is the noun phrase complement and modifies "I" just like an adjective would. So the relative clause must be governed by "I", the head.
    You need to dissect sentences if you want to really untangle all the grammatical threads. I hope this makes it clear. This is a question of descriptive vs prescriptive grammar. But in spite of that, she told me it's not yet that accepted in dg to use "it's me".
    She also noted that it's colloquial and acceptable in some social contexts to use "It's me who is responsible" but definitely not normative.
    Yes, the sentence "It is you who determine how they should treat you'' is valid, but it has two meanings. You have just described one of its meanings, but with that meaning the subject is just "it", and this "it" requires a referent outside of the sentence.

    For the meaning I think the author has in mind, based on the surrounding context (I know nothing about the original Arabic version), it is intended to be a cleft structure, for which "that determines" instead of "who determine" would be more appropriate. In other words, the "mistake that now leads to another" is in confusing the two kinds of sentences and the way "it" functions in each.

    The difference has little to do with social context. Any social context I can think of in which "It's you that determines" is too informal or colloquial is a context in which the form "It's" would be avoided.

    By the way, if I understand your use of the word normative, I suspect it does not apply to English. There are prescriptive grammarians who accept "It's me" and reject "It's I" as well as those of the opposite opinion. And this is not to say that anything goes: they all reject the combination "It's me who am".
     

    SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish/AE
    The problem here is assuming that a sentence like "It is I who am responsible" reflects how people actually talk, but that's not the case, not unless they are on stage performing a play.

    Still, "It is I who am responsible" is a cleft-sentence that derives from "I am responsible." In the cleft form, the subject pronoun "I" moves higher in the sentence and becomes the predicate in an it-construction (It is I), and the it-construction is then followed by a relative clause. In the transformation from original sentence to cleft-sentence the verb doesn't change. So, if the original sentence has am, the cleft-sentence will have the same verb (It is I who am responsible).

    But people don't talk that way (or "most" people don't talk that way, to avoid making absolute claims). Traditional grammar says that an it-construction takes nominative "I," but that's Latin grammar, not English grammar. In fact, there's no "rule" in English syntax that requires "I." If you start the sentence with "It is," then the verb "is" has its assigned subject, the pronoun "it." That's the only function that "it" plays in this cleft-sentence, the function of "subject." Since the pronoun following "is" is not functioning as "subject," there's no reason for it to be "I." Me is the pronoun used as subject for non-finite verbs, and the pronoun used when there's no verb for it. That's how we get It is me, because "is" goes with "it," which means that "me" is not paired with any verb. And (most/some) people say It's me who is responsible because the speaker is referring to himself, with the relative pronoun "who," in the third person.

    Then again, language prefers simplicity, and I suspect that (most) people would simply say "I'm responsible."
     

    NevenaT

    Senior Member
    Serbian/Croatian
    Yes the thing is that in "I am the one who is responsible" "the...responsible" is a noun phrase functioning as the object. And it's true that "I/me/the one" are not subjects but heads of the noun phrase modified by the relative clauses "who...ible". For that reason that head of the noun phrase doesn't govern number or person of the following verb form in the relative clause.
    Yes now I see in the dictionary that "normative" doesn't belong in the post above, but prescriptive because of p. grammar.
    The professor said the same, that in written academic texts you'd expect "It is I who am", otherwise always "it's me who is".
    I know that you can't say "it's me who am", but honestly it's still vague to me what actually happens and why it is so. Does "who" change meaning or what?
     
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    NevenaT

    Senior Member
    Serbian/Croatian
    Well, there're many other forums online exploring this question. And I read an academic text where they used "It's me who is responsible". No one else said that it's impossible, if it really is then let's elaborate on it.
    I'm not saying it's common, this is just a linguistic issue. "It was me who bought the flowers."
     
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    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I've decided that I would avoid the issue by not using these controversial weird sounding constructions and saying "I'm the one to blame/who should be blamed/to be blamed".
    Of course there are several other simple ways of expressing the idea, such as "Just blame me!" or "I'm to blame."

    It's a nuisance that English has no 'strong/emphatic' forms of personal pronoun.
    If we accept that 'It is I!' is pompously pernickety these days, and reject centuries-old attempts to match 'correct' English usage with Latin grammar, as if nothing had changed since Dr Johnson's prescriptive day, then why would anybody dream of saying "It's I/me, who believe that the earth is flat".
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I'm not saying it's common, this is just a linguistic issue. "It was me who bought the flowers."
    There's no problem with the simple past, like 'bought', because the endings don't change as they do in the 3rd person singular of the simple present.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    Yes the thing is that in "I am the one who is responsible" "the...responsible" is a noun phrase functioning as the object.
    The complement of a linking verb is not called an object.
    And it's true that "I/me/the one" are not subjects but heads of the noun phrase modified by the relative clauses "who...ible". For that reason that head of the noun phrase doesn't govern number or person of the following verb form in the relative clause.
    Yes now I see in the dictionary that "normative" doesn't belong in the post above, but prescriptive because of p. grammar.
    I'm afraid "prescriptive" does not fit either.
    The professor said the same, that in written academic texts you'd expect "It is I who am", otherwise always "it's me who is".
    Actually, in an academic text I would not expect either, except in the area of linguistics, where both may be discussed.
    I know that you can't say "it's me who am", but honestly it's still vague to me what actually happens and why that is so. Does "who" change meaning ot]r what?
    If we are talking about a cleft sentence, using who instead of that is misleading since the referent is not exactly a person per se but the same thing referred to as "It". But if we are talking about "me/I who am" as all one noun phrase, making "am" agree with a pronoun without also making that pronoun agree with "am" is just not natural.

    What "sounds natural" is a complex issue. For example, compare the following sentences:

    I who speak to you am he.
    Even on Thursday they still don't see all of you who have been waiting here since Tuesday.
    Even on Thursday they still don't see them who have been waiting here since Tuesday.

    Even on Thursday they still don't see me, who have been waiting here since Tuesday.


    Just speaking for myself, the first sounds right but very dramatic and formal, the second sounds right and not quite so dramatic or formal, the third I think would be better with those than with them, and the last just does not work without the comma and sounds a little unnatural even with the comma.

    Modifying a personal pronoun with a relative clause, then, is not disallowed in English, but it does seem to be avoided except where the grammar is absolutely straightforward. This is probably why, once the translator who created the topic sentence of this thread has chosen "who" instead of "that", the verb "determines" sounds wrong to most of us, even though (I suspect) we all know instinctively that a cleft structure is what is intended.
     
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    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    ... The professor said the same, that in written academic texts you'd expect "It is I who am", otherwise always "it's me who is".
    I agree with the first part of the professor's comment, but not with the second.
    I can't imagine ever saying "It's me who is wrong". With "It's me + relative + be", I would have only two options: "It's me who's..." and "It's me that's..." - both using contractions. And of the two, by far the more likely is the one with relative "that".
    Or I am the one who is responsible.
    :thumbsup::thumbsup:
     

    NevenaT

    Senior Member
    Serbian/Croatian
    OK, I wasn't that specific with the contractions, but that's somehow understood that you use contractions when you speak, the point was the type of construction.
     

    NevenaT

    Senior Member
    Serbian/Croatian
    @Forero Yes, definitely it doesn't take an object, I think this's issue started to exhaust me.
    I'd for example say:
    "Even on Thursday they still don't see me who has (who's) been waiting here since Tuesday."
    I think I'm gonna give up because it's just more and more confusing, I thought that with objective pronouns you'd use third person singular or plural, and with personal pronouns you use all persons as usual. You also said it sounds unnatural, so that's a good indicator it should be avoided, as well as "I'm I" since it's archaic.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I'd feel the need to rephrase:

    Even on Thursday they still don't see me, and I have been waiting here since Tuesday.


    What would "I'm I" even mean? It doesn't sound archaic to me.
     

    NevenaT

    Senior Member
    Serbian/Croatian
    Haha, it was funny to me by the way, it was just saying that examples where a personal pronoun follows a copulative verb are rare nowadays and people tend to use objective pronouns instead.
    A stupid example indeed.
    'Who broke the vase?'
    'It was I/me'

    'See' means 'meet' in the Forero's example I guess?
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Haha, it was funny to me by the way, it was just saying that examples where a personal pronoun follows a copulative verb are rare nowadays and people tend to use objective pronouns instead.
    A stupid example indeed.
    'Who broke the vase?'
    'It was I/me'
    I'm not sure why you label "I" a personal pronoun and "me" an objective pronoun.
    But you do, indeed, seem to be moving away from the topic of this thread.
     

    SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish/AE
    Object pronoun, what are "I, you, he, she..." called then?

    I, you, she, ... = subject pronouns (because they function as subject)
    me, you, him, her ... = object pronouns (because they function as object)

    I, you, she, me, you, him her .. = Collectively known as "personal pronouns" (because their meaning is obtained contextually from a "person/referent").
     
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