Remember who/ whoever...

FranTsingtao

Member
Mandarin
"-I'm afraid I have to give it up.
-Don't be discouraged. Remember ____ sticks to his work will succeed one day."
A. those who
B. who
C. whoever
D. whomever

I am trying to explain to my students in high school why C is the correct answer. I have read a number of threads in this forum but still have questions about "who or whoever".

I originally thought WHO was the right answer, but I think WHOEVER is also correct.

Some people say that because we have got "remember", which should be followed by an object or a clause where the relative pronoun is the subject. In this case, who is not acceptable. I do not understand. Is this a grammatical rule?

Another thought is that "who" is an interrogative relative therefore is more appropriate for sentences like "Who will be the teacher of this class is not known." to show that you are talking about something that is a question. Whoever, on the other hand, does not carry such meaning. In this sentence, it is not a question, so "whoever" is better. Is this a good reason?

I also tried to paraphrase this sentence:
Remember the one/ the person who/ that sticks to his work will succeed one day. Is it grammatical regardless it is true or not?
 
  • Englishmypassion

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi
    "Who" can't be a subject on its own, except as an interrogative pronoun. It needs an antecedent (a noun to which a relative pronoun relates back to) but it doesn't have one in the sentence. But "whoever" doesn't need an antecedent, so it can serve as the subject of the clause. That's why "whoever" is correct.
     

    FranTsingtao

    Member
    Mandarin
    "Who" can't be a subject on its own, except as an interrogative pronoun. It needs an antecedent (a noun to which a relative pronoun relates back to) but it doesn't have one in the sentence. But "whoever" doesn't need an antecedent, so it can serve as the subject of the clause. That's why "whoever" is correct.
    Very clear. Thank you.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    "Who" can't be a subject on its own, except as an interrogative pronoun. It needs an antecedent (a noun to which a relative pronoun relates back to) but it doesn't have one in the sentence. But "whoever" doesn't need an antecedent, so it can serve as the subject of the clause. That's why "whoever" is correct.
    Awesome. Thanks for teaching me that!
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I looked at the paraphrase:

    Remember the one/ the person who/ that sticks to his work will succeed one day.


    I think a "that" (or even a colon or a dash) after "remember" in your version or in the original version would aid comprehension.

    I would have gone for "he who" in preference to "whoever", of course, if the choice had been available:
    Remember (that) he who sticks to his work will succeed one day.
     

    FranTsingtao

    Member
    Mandarin
    I looked at the paraphrase:

    Remember the one/ the person who/ that sticks to his work will succeed one day.


    I think a "that" (or even a colon or a dash) after "remember" in your version or in the original version would aid comprehension.

    I would have gone for "he who" in preference to "whoever", of course, if the choice had been available:
    Remember (that) he who sticks to his work will succeed one day.
    Understood. Thank you very much!
    But one more question, why "he who" is better than "whoever"? Is it because "whoever" means "a random someone and you do not really care who the person is"?
     
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