take

azz

Senior Member
Persian
a. This is the car which took two hours to repair.
b. This is the car it took two hours to repair.

c. This is the man it took two weeks to cure.
d. This is the man who took two weeks to cure.

Which of the above is grammatical?
 
  • Edwin

    Senior Member
    USA / Native Language: English
    azz said:
    a. This is the car which took two hours to repair.
    b. This is the car it took two hours to repair.

    c. This is the man it took two weeks to cure.
    d. This is the man who took two weeks to cure.

    Which of the above is grammatical?


    I go with the ''it'' in both cases. Particularly in the case of d.

    If I heard d., I would say,

    ''The man who took two weeks to cure what?''.

    But you could say,

    'This is the man who took two weeks to get well.''
     

    elroy

    Moderator: EHL, Arabic, Hebrew, German(-Spanish)
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Agreed on all counts. The structures with "who" and "which" sound decidedly awkward.
     

    elroy

    Moderator: EHL, Arabic, Hebrew, German(-Spanish)
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Ralf said:
    But what about "This is the car which took them two hours to repair." - would that sound awkward, too?

    Slightly, yes. I would still say "This is the car it took them two hours to repair."

    Mind you, using "which" in these examples is technically grammatically correct; I'm just saying you wouldn't hear it in everday speech.

    Hope this helps! :)
     

    Ralf

    Senior Member
    German
    modgirl, elroy,
    Thank you both. I spent the past hour thinking only about these examples and your explanations. Probably I'm still thinking too much German. But I guess I've understood and "can feel" now how to use the proper words in a context like that.
    Thanks again.
     

    Artrella

    Banned
    BA
    Spanish-Argentina
    elroy said:
    Slightly, yes. I would still say "This is the car it took them two hours to repair."

    Mind you, using "which" in these examples is technically grammatically correct; I'm just saying you wouldn't hear it in everday speech.

    Hope this helps! :)



    Elroy, I don't understand the "it" there. You need a subordinate clause, maybe with "that" or "which">>> why "it"? :confused:

    This is the car that/which took them two hours to repair
     

    Edwin

    Senior Member
    USA / Native Language: English
    Artrella said:
    Elroy, I don't understand the "it" there. You need a subordinate clause, maybe with "that" or "which">>> why "it"? :confused:

    This is the car that/which took them two hours to repair

    Art, I don't know about grammatical rules but the following all sound pretty natural to me.

    This is the car it took them two hours to repair.

    This is the car that it took them two hours to repair.

    This is the car that took them two hours to repair.

    Similarly, you might hear things like

    This is the house John lives in.

    This is the house that John lives in.

    He brought the candy I like.

    He brought the candy that I like.

    Perhaps some grammarian can tell us the rules for leaving out ''that'' and ''which''.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    Azz

    You're always asking these "which is grammatical" questions. Forgive me if I'm wrong but you're obviously just asking us to answer your homework questions. What's the point? You'll get much more out of it if you just have a go yourself, and learn from the answers. After all, at least your teacher is paid to mark your work.
     

    azz

    Senior Member
    Persian
    Hi Timpeac,

    Honestly no. I am past the age of doing this kind of homework. There is no homework. I just manage to get myself confused and then come here for help. Apparently I have gotton on your nerves, but then again, you can just ignore me.

    If you think about the question, you'll see that no teacher in his/her right mind would give it to his/her students. It would be extremely confusing for someone who is at the early stages of learning English. My English is pretty good! That's why I can handle this kind of thing.

    I think I can say that Artrella and Ralf have also profitted from this question.

    As I said, this isn't homework and there won't be answers coming from any teachers. You do have a point by mentioning the fact that people should get paid for teaching others. But I think people who answer questions in this forum don't expect to get paid. I do appreciate what they do for me.
     

    Artrella

    Banned
    BA
    Spanish-Argentina
    Edwin said:
    Art, I don't know about grammatical rules but the following all sound pretty natural to me.


    Perhaps some grammarian can tell us the rules for leaving out ''that'' and ''which''.


    Thx :p Edwin :p for your examples and effort!! But I think my head is made of stone!!! I still don't like the "it" in that sentence of the car!! I cannot find where it has been originated. I need a Grammarian!!!
    I don't have problems in dropping "that" or "which"... that "it",,,arrrghhh!!!! :mad:
    I have to go over and over again, and I will understand. I love Grammar! :)
     

    Edwin

    Senior Member
    USA / Native Language: English
    Artrella said:
    Thx :p Edwin :p for your examples and effort!! But I think my head is made of stone!!! I still don't like the "it" in that sentence of the car!! I cannot find where it has been originated. I need a Grammarian!!!
    I don't have problems in dropping "that" or "which"... that "it",,,arrrghhh!!!! :mad:
    I have to go over and over again, and I will understand. I love Grammar! :)

    But you learned Spanish without learning grammar!! There should be a method for learning foreign languages without learning grammar.

    Let's see. What will it take to explain it. Maybe there are two questions here:

    1. When can one omit ''that'' in a phrase of the following form?

    noun/that/descriptive sentence/verb

    Example:

    car/that/I painted/is (that is not needed)

    car/that/ran off the road yesterday/is (that is needed)

    man/that/I saw yesterday/is (that is not needed)

    man/that/went to town/is (that is needed)

    2. How do we use the phrases ''it takes'' and ''it took''?

    Examples:

    it takes time to fix a car

    it takes a village to raise a child

    whatever it takes we will do it

    it took them two hours to fix

    it took a lot of effort to make me understand

    I don't know how much time it took to fix it.
     

    Artrella

    Banned
    BA
    Spanish-Argentina
    Edwin said:
    But you learned Spanish without learning grammar!! There should be a method for learning foreign languages without learning grammar.

    Let's see. What will it take to explain it. Maybe there are two questions here:

    1. When can one omit ''that'' in a phrase of the following form?

    noun/that/descriptive sentence/verb

    Example:

    car/that/I painted/is (that is not needed)

    car/that/ran off the road yesterday/is (that is needed)

    man/that/I saw yesterday/is (that is not needed)

    man/that/went to town/is (that is needed)

    2. How do we use the phrases ''it takes'' and ''it took''?

    Examples:

    it takes time to fix a car

    it takes a village to raise a child

    whatever it takes we will do it

    it took them two hours to fix

    it took a lot of effort to make me understand

    I don't know how much time it took to fix it.





    Edwin!!! You are the BEST!!! :)
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    azz said:
    Hi Timpeac,

    Honestly no. I am past the age of doing this kind of homework. There is no homework. I just manage to get myself confused and then come here for help. Apparently I have gotton on your nerves, but then again, you can just ignore me.

    If you think about the question, you'll see that no teacher in his/her right mind would give it to his/her students. It would be extremely confusing for someone who is at the early stages of learning English. My English is pretty good! That's why I can handle this kind of thing.

    I think I can say that Artrella and Ralf have also profitted from this question.

    As I said, this isn't homework and there won't be answers coming from any teachers. You do have a point by mentioning the fact that people should get paid for teaching others. But I think people who answer questions in this forum don't expect to get paid. I do appreciate what they do for me.

    I apologise if I misunderstood Azz. I was purely worried that it was someone just listing their homework - which you would agree would not help anyone.

    Yes, your English is very good and certainly not a beginner - and yes, of course, no one here is doing it for the money.

    I look forward to helping you with your queries in the future, et j'espère que je peux compter sur toi également de corriger mes fautes de français.

    Amicalement, Tim:eek: :D
     

    azz

    Senior Member
    Persian
    It's quite all right Tim!
    One does often come across people who want to have their homework done by others in language forums!
     

    wcspencer

    New Member
    United States, English
    Mainly directed to Edwin,

    Here are your four examples of using or not using 'that'.

    the man /that/ I saw yesterday - The 'that' can be left out because the man was not doing the seeing.

    the man /that/ went to town - The 'that' can be left in because the man did go to town.

    the car /that/ I painted - The 'that' can be left out because the car was not doing the painting, I was.

    the car /that/ ran off the road - The 'that' can be left in because the car ran off the road, nothing else did the running.

    Is there a grammatical rule hidden in here somewhere?

    Thanks for your previous help on another subject.
    wcspencer, billylongo
     

    Nick

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    You can omit that in a relative clause when the subject of the clause is different from the word or phrase the clause refers to. Thus, you can say either the book that I was reading or the book I was reading. You can also omit that when it introduces a subordinate clause: I think we should try again.

    You should not omit that, however, when the subordinate clause begins with an adverbial phrase or anything other than the subject: She said that under no circumstances would she allow us to skip the meeting. The book argues that eventually the housing supply will increase. This last sentence would be ambiguous if that were omitted, since the adverb eventually could then be construed as modifying either argues or will increase.

    Source: The American Heritage® Book of English Usage. Copyright © 1996 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
     

    wcspencer

    New Member
    United States, English
    Nick said:
    You can omit that in a relative clause when the subject of the clause is different from the word or phrase the clause refers to. Thus, you can say either the book that I was reading or the book I was reading. You can also omit that when it introduces a subordinate clause: I think we should try again.

    You should not omit that, however, when the subordinate clause begins with an adverbial phrase or anything other than the subject: She said that under no circumstances would she allow us to skip the meeting. The book argues that eventually the housing supply will increase. This last sentence would be ambiguous if that were omitted, since the adverb eventually could then be construed as modifying either argues or will increase.

    Source: The American Heritage® Book of English Usage. Copyright © 1996 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

    Thanks, Nick. I have the answer /no 'that'/ you sent saved and will print it out later for further reading.

    ¡Que tengas buen día!
    billylongo
     

    jacinta

    Senior Member
    USA English
    azz said:
    a. This is the car which took two hours to repair.
    b. This is the car it took two hours to repair.


    Just one more opinion and grammar rule:

    The difference between which and that is: which is used with a comma and that is not. This is a simplistic explanation, I know, but I can only remember the rule, not the reason :)

    This is the car, which took two hours to repair.
    This is the car that took two hours to repair.

    I bought a book yesterday at Borders, which very expensive.
    I bought a book yesterday at Borders that was very expensive.

    I do not agree with "This is the car it took two hours to repair" but "It took two hours to repair this car" is perfectly fine. Somehow changing the order of the words makes it sound funny to my ears. I'm sure both are said, as people are agreeing to it. As someone said, when you think too hard, everything sounds funny.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    jacinta said:
    Just one more opinion and grammar rule:

    The difference between which and that is: which is used with a comma and that is not. This is a simplistic explanation, I know, but I can only remember the rule, not the reason :)

    This is the car, which took two hours to repair.
    This is the car that took two hours to repair.

    I bought a book yesterday at Borders, which very expensive.
    I bought a book yesterday at Borders that was very expensive.

    I do not agree with "This is the car it took two hours to repair" but "It took two hours to repair this car" is perfectly fine. Somehow changing the order of the words makes it sound funny to my ears. I'm sure both are said, as people are agreeing to it. As someone said, when you think too hard, everything sounds funny.

    Strictly speaking "that" refers to the noun and "which" to the clause. So in both these examples it should be "that" not which since we are referring to a book or a car.

    To give you a contrast -

    a) I cooked a cake, which was very nice.
    b) I cooked a cake that was very nice.

    In a) we only know for a fact that the act of cooking a cake was nice, we have no info on what the final cake was like.

    In b) we know that the final cake was nice, but I may have hated making it for all we know from this information.

    This distinction is not upheld much, and I am sure that I swap the two forms over.

    Incidently I find it hard to justify grammatically, but I'm sure I say phrases like this is the car it took 2 hours to repair all the time. Maybe the fact that it is said is justification enough?? (aguable point!)
     

    Edwin

    Senior Member
    USA / Native Language: English
    jacinta said:
    Just one more opinion and grammar rule:

    The difference between which and that is: which is used with a comma and that is not. This is a simplistic explanation, I know, but I can only remember the rule, not the reason :)


    A rule for ''that'' versus ''which'' that I heard was this: :) Say the sentence without thinking about it. You will almost always make the correct choice. Thinking about it is what causes errors: usually the error is caused by saying ''which'' when ''that'' would be correct.
     

    beigatti

    Senior Member
    English - American
    azz said:
    a. This is the car which took two hours to repair.
    b. This is the car it took two hours to repair.

    c. This is the man it took two weeks to cure.
    d. This is the man who took two weeks to cure.

    Which of the above is grammatical?

    I am late coming to this thread...but I disagree with most.

    First of all, if you use the word "it", you need a semicolon.

    This is the car; it took two hours to repair (it).

    This is the man; it took two weeks to cure (him). You need the it/him, otherwise it doesn't sound right.

    I like the that/who construction better.

    This is the car which took two hours to repair.
    This is the man who took two weeks to cure (still not a terrific sentence).


    As for the difference between which, that, and who...

    I do not have my grammar book from 1968 with me (I am very old, but I still have that book!) but I recall that "which" is used for things, "who" is used for people, and "that" can be used for either.

    The man who is standing on the corner is my brother.
    The man that is standing on the corner is my brother.

    The book which is on the table is new.
    The book that is on the table is new.

    of course, one can say: "the book on the table is new"

    Jo-Ann
     

    jacinta

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Strictly speaking "that" refers to the noun and "which" to the clause. So in both these examples it should be "that" not which since we are referring to a book or a car.

    Thank you, timpeac, for the above. I knew there was something about clauses involved but didn't want to go on about something I didn't know.


    This I found on the Web since I also don't have my grammar books from school anymore.
    http://www.worldwidewords.org/articles/which.htm

    Which vs. that
    Restrictive clauses are introduced by that and are not separated from the rest of the sentence by commas.

    Non-restrictive clauses are introduced by which and must be separated by commas from the rest of the sentence to indicate parenthesis.

    The house that is painted pink has just been sold.
    The house, which is painted pink, has just been sold
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    beigatti said:
    I am late coming to this thread...but I disagree with most.

    First of all, if you use the word "it", you need a semicolon.

    This is the car; it took two hours to repair (it).

    This is the man; it took two weeks to cure (him). You need the it/him, otherwise it doesn't sound right.
    Jo-Ann
    doesn't sound right to you. It sounds fine to me. It is a reorganisation of the phrase it takes two weeks to cure a man. This is the man it takes two weeks to cure. The it doesn't refer to the man but is an impersonal subject of takes "it takes 2 weeks to grow a flower" what does? No concrete thing, just "it". Like "it rains". Your semicolon example isn't wrong, it's just a different sentence.

    beigatti said:
    I like the that/who construction better.

    This is the car which took two hours to repair.
    This is the man who took two weeks to cure (still not a terrific sentence).


    As for the difference between which, that, and who...

    I do not have my grammar book from 1968 with me (I am very old, but I still have that book!) but I recall that "which" is used for things, "who" is used for people, and "that" can be used for either.
    Jo-Ann

    I think that when you do find your grammar book you will discover that the difference is as I outline above, that refers to a noun, which refers to a clause, however the distinction is not often observed.
     

    beigatti

    Senior Member
    English - American
    Timpeac,


    ah...perhaps were're arguing American vs British usage. I now have the book in front of me. According to the Harbrace College Handbook, 6th edition (1967), "Use who or that instead of which to refer to persons" (p. 222).

    Of course, I could ask the authority...my daughter teaches high school English. :D


    Jo-Ann
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    beigatti said:
    Timpeac,


    ah...perhaps were're arguing American vs British usage. I now have the book in front of me. According to the Harbrace College Handbook, 6th edition (1967), "Use who or that instead of which to refer to persons" (p. 222).

    Of course, I could ask the authority...my daughter teaches high school English. :D


    Jo-Ann

    Ah no - the same here Jo-Ann. We use who or that when talking of people.

    I was just saying that I think there is (strictly speaking) a distinction to observe between that and which when talking about things. In other words it is not a free choice (and can be a meaningful distinction as I tried to show in my example). Again, as I say, many people don't follow that distinction though.
     

    Artrella

    Banned
    BA
    Spanish-Argentina
    Some points I want to share with you:

    :arrow: "which" is not always placed after a comma.

    " The idea which she put forward was interesting"


    "It's a book which will interest children of all ages"

    " I gave him an envelope,which he put in his pocket at once"

    "Here's an article which might interest you"

    "I've found the keys which you were looking for"


    :arrow: Omission of "that": especially in an informal style. "That" cannot be dropped after certain verbs >> reply, telegraph, shout .
    It is not usually dropped after nouns.



    James replied that he was feeling better

    * James replied he was feeling better *

    He disagreed with Copernicus' view that the earth went round the sun.

    * He disagreed with Copernicus' view the earth went round the sun*



    You can also drop it after some adjectives

    I'm glad (that) you are all right.

    It can be left out in some common two-word conjunctions

    Come in quietly so (that) she doesn't hear you

    Assuming (that) nobody gets lost, we'll all meet again here at six o'clock.


    We can usually leave out the relative pronoun "that" when it is the object in a relative clause.

    Look! There are people (that) we met in Brighton.

    Do it the way (that) I showed you.


    :arrow: "That which" Older English

    "That which" used to be used in the same way as "what". This is very unusual in modern English.

    We have that which we need :arrow: We have what we need
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    Artrella said:
    Some points I want to share with you:

    :arrow: "which" is not always placed after a comma.

    " The idea which she put forward was interesting"

    "It's a book which will interest children of all ages"

    " I gave him an envelope,which he put in his pocket at once"

    "Here's an article which might interest you"

    "I've found the keys which you were looking for"

    Only because you are breaking here the rule that you use "that" for a noun not "which". If this rule was followed then you would have "that" in all these cases and no comma.

    The comma rule and the that/which rule go hand-in-hand because in English we always pause before descibing a whole clause.

    For example "he took a gun and shot them, (pause) which shocked me". When you immediately describe a noun (and therefore use that) you don't pause.

    For example "I touched a wire that shocked me because it was connected to the electricity" No pause, and so no comma.
     

    Artrella

    Banned
    BA
    Spanish-Argentina
    timpeac said:
    Only because you are breaking here the rule that you use "that" for a noun not "which". If this rule was followed then you would have "that" in all these cases and no comma.

    The comma rule and the that/which rule go hand-in-hand because in English we always pause before descibing a whole clause.

    For example "he took a gun and shot them, (pause) which shocked me". When you immediately describe a noun (and therefore use that) you don't pause.

    For example "I touched a wire that shocked me because it was connected to the electricity" No pause, and so no comma.



    Thank you for enlarging my explanation!! It's good for me to know about the native's usage, it helps me a lot!!! Thank you again Timpeac!! :thumbsup:
     

    Lora

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    The that/which thing has always really puzzled me - I went through grammar book after grammar book and found a fairly decent explanation, which I shall dig out and post up at some point. In some cases there's such a subtle difference that you can get away with using either...but there is a definite rule.

    It helped me loads (even though I can't remember it :) lol)
     

    garcondessinges

    New Member
    USA, English
    My thoughts on 'that' vs. 'which':

    I would say that neither a) nor b) is grammatically correct. a) and b) should read '..that took two hours to repair.', since you're introducing a restrictive clause. In colloquial usage, though, b) could pass in spoken usage. Same for c).

    I defintely agree with the earlier comment that d) begs the question 'What did the man cure after two weeks of work?' I would recast c) and d) as 'This is the man who took two weeks to be cured.'

    Voilà.

    I suggest you read http://www.bartleby.com/64/pages/page39.html (for that/which usage) and http://www.bartleby.com/64/pages/page50.html (for who/whom in restrictive and non-restrictive clauses). These citations are from a guide to American English usage. If you want UK usage guides, they also can be found on bartleby.com.
     

    jacinta

    Senior Member
    USA English
    timpeac said:
    Only because you are breaking here the rule that you use "that" for a noun not "which". If this rule was followed then you would have "that" in all these cases and no comma.

    The comma rule and the that/which rule go hand-in-hand because in English we always pause before descibing a whole clause.

    For example "he took a gun and shot them, (pause) which shocked me". When you immediately describe a noun (and therefore use that) you don't pause.

    For example "I touched a wire that shocked me because it was connected to the electricity" No pause, and so no comma.


    Yes. I completely agree with this. Many people make the mistake of using which when they should be using that.
     
    Top