our customer <who> we are making this order for

Awesome789

New Member
Russian
Hello, guys!
Please help me with this phrase.
Originally I wrote this to my colleague:
"The problem is that our customer who we are making this order for has a..."
But when I read it again I stumbled on that "who" I put as a conjuction.
Obviously, it could be excluded from this phrase with no change in meaning, but is the phrase correct with this "who" in it?
 
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  • Awesome789

    New Member
    Russian
    Not to me. I'd keep "who" (or "that", which can also be used here).
    "that" could also be used, really? I always thought that when we use conjuction referring to a person, we use "who", don't we?
    Could you please advise the cases where only "who" could be used?
    That would help a lot!!
     

    Awesome789

    New Member
    Russian
    There is also the option of saying "for whom we are making this order".
    Right, thanks! 👍

    Edinburgher, will you please help me with cases where only "who" could be used? Cause I was sure I couldn't use "that" in my original phrase! 🙏
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    "That" is possible in relative clauses like this, but "who" is almost always better when talking about a person, as opposed to an animal or thing.

    A problem in your original sentence is that the relative clause is defining relative clause. It tells us which customer you mean, and "our" also acts in a defining role. Having two independent defining roles makes the sentence feel somewhat strange, especially when using a fairly long relative clause with "who" and "for" at its extreme ends. Basically, the sentence is too complicated because it tries to pack in too much information. It's better to re-write it and break it up into parts that are easier to digest by people with small brains.
     

    Awesome789

    New Member
    Russian
    "That" is possible in relative clauses like this, but "who" is almost always better when talking about a person, as opposed to an animal or thing.

    A problem in your original sentence is that the relative clause is defining relative clause. It tells us which customer you mean, and "our" also acts in a defining role. Having two independent defining roles makes the sentence feel somewhat strange, especially when using a fairly long relative clause with "who" and "for" at its extreme ends. Basically, the sentence is too complicated because it tries to pack in too much information. It's better to re-write it and break it up into parts that are easier to digest by people with small brains.
    Ahahah "by people with small brains" - awesome! I'll try to avoid such complicated constructions in future.

    I really appreciate your detailed answer!!!
    Now I totally got why even I stumbled on this "who" there.
    "that" would have been a much better fit! Understood!
    Thanks! 👍
     

    billj

    Senior Member
    British English
    Originally I wrote this to my colleague:
    "The problem is that our customer who we are making this order for has a..."
    But when I read it again I stumbled on that "who" I put as a conjuction.
    Obviously, it could be excluded from this phrase with no change in meaning, but is the phrase correct with this "who" in it?
    The problem is that our customer (who) we are making this order for has a ...

    Yes: it's correct, but note that "who" is not a conjunction, but a relative pronoun. As you say, it is grammatically optional here.

    Although there are places where "that" is preferred over "who" (and vice-versa), there is no construction where only "who" (as opposed to "that") is acceptable.

    Note, though, that in supplementary (non-defining) relatives, "that" is not permitted at all: "My only sister, who /that lives abroad ..."
     
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    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I agree with Edinburgher that "our" doesn't go with a defining relative clause.

    It seems to me that there are two sets of options here:
    Non-defining
    ... our customer, who we are making this order for, ...
    ... our customer, for whom we are making this order, ...
    Defining
    ... the customer that/who we are making this order for ...
    ... the customer for whom we are making this order ...
     

    Awesome789

    New Member
    Russian
    Dear guys, thank you so much for the details!
    And as for the "relative pronoun": I actually did know that it's called not a conjuction, but smth else.. I just couldn't recall that particular definition 🤪, so decided to refer to it this way as was focusing on another thing in my question.
    But I really appreciate your reminding me of this, it's always great and professional to operate (with?) the exact definitions!
    - "relative pronoun" it is! exactly! 👌

    Thanks to all of you! You guys make the World better!
     
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