The first mayor <to be> <who is> recalled

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Zhuo

Member
Chinese
Hi English native speakers,

I’ve got a tricky question and I’ve asked several teachers but it seems that they are not sure about the answer:
If he (the politician) had fulfilled his promises, he wouldn’t be the first mayor to be recalled.

Can I change the second sentence into: he wouldn’t be the first mayor ‘’who is’’ recalled. ?

I’ve been told that “to be recalled” is better here. Yes, I’m more used to the “to be P.P”form, too. But I cannot figure out why “ who is recalled “ doesn’t work here. Or can I say the second one is grammatically correct but simply not commonly used?


Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thank you 🙏
 
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  • heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Where did you see this sentence? In what context? What is it talking about? What does 'to be called' mean? Called where? Mayors aren't usually politicians.

    Was the mayor called (once, for the first time) or recalled (he had been called before, and this was his second or third time)?
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I’m not convinced that the sentence makes any sense.

    But in terms of the grammar, it’s an idiomatic construction, which can’t be changed without losing the nuance.

    It’s based on statements such as:

    It’s not the first time this has happened, and it won’t be the last.
    You’re not the first person to have this problem, and you won’t be the last.

    Therefore, the natural thing to say is:
    If the politician had fulfilled his promises, he wouldn’t be the first mayor to be recalled. :thumbsup:
     

    Zhuo

    Member
    Chinese
    Where did you see this sentence? In what context? What is it talking about? What does 'to be called' mean? Called where? Mayors aren't usually politicians.

    Was the mayor called (once, for the first time) or recalled (he had been called before, and this was his second or third time)?
    Sorry about the typo, I’ve just amended it
     

    Zhuo

    Member
    Chinese
    I’m not convinced that the sentence makes any sense.

    But in terms of the grammar, it’s an idiomatic construction, which can’t be changed without losing the nuance.

    It’s based on statements such as:

    It’s not the first time this has happened, and it won’t be the last.
    You’re not the first person to have this problem, and you won’t be the last.

    Therefore, the natural thing to say is:
    If the politician had fulfilled his promises, he wouldn’t be the first mayor to be recalled. :thumbsup:
    Thank you for your help.
    So that means I shouldn’t say “You’re not the first one who has this problem “?
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    What you say depends on the context. Not all similar constructions are meant as that idiom – which goes on to say “and I/you/he/she/we/they/it won’t be the last”. But your proposed sentence does not convey what you intend.

    You’re not the first one who has this problem :thumbsdown::thumbsdown: (the simple present implies who regularly has this problem)
    You’re not the first person who has had this problem :thumbsup:
    You’re not the first person to have [had] this problem :thumbsup:
     

    Zhuo

    Member
    Chinese
    What you say depends on the context. Not all similar constructions are meant as that idiom – which goes on to say “and I/you/he/she/we/they/it won’t be the last”. But your proposed sentence does not convey what you intend.

    You’re not the first one who has this problem :thumbsdown::thumbsdown: (the simple present implies who regularly has this problem)
    YoYou’re not the first one who has this problem :thumbsdown::thumbsdown: (the simple present implies who regularly has this problem)u’re not the first person who has had this problem :thumbsup:
    You’re not the first person to have [had] this problem :thumbsup:
    Thank you again.
    If you don’t mind, I have just one more question about the first sentence:

    You’re not the first one who has this problem (the simple present implies who regularly has this problem)

    But simple present can be used to describe “fact “, right?
    In the sentence, isn’t “not the first one who has this problem “ a fact?
    That’s why I don’t understand why “ who is recalled “ in my proposed sentence doesn’t work . Perhaps my interpretation was wrong cuz I kept thinking “ the first mayor who is recalled “ refers to a ‘fact’
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    In the US, mayors are often politicians. We have a process called a "recall/recall election" in which elected officials can be removed from office.
    Recall election - Wikipedia
    A recall election (also called a recall referendum, recall petition or representative recall) is a procedure by which, in certain polities, voters can remove an elected official from office through a direct vote before that official's term has ended. Recalls, which are initiated when sufficient voters sign a petition, have a history dating back to the constitution in ancient Athenian democracy[1] and feature in several current constitutions.
     

    Zhuo

    Member
    Chinese
    In the US, mayors are often politicians. We have a process called a "recall/recall election" in which elected officials can be removed from office.
    Recall election - Wikipedia
    Exactly. Thank you for the explanation. I thought I did not need to explain the word “ recall”.Actually in my country we just had a recall vote and a politician (a mayor) has been recalled.(failed the recall vote)

    So, the same question to you if you don’t mind. “ the first mayor who is recalled” does not work in AE, either?
     

    billj

    Senior Member
    British English
    Hi English native speakers. I’ve got a tricky question and I’ve asked several teachers but it seems that they are not sure about the answer:
    If he (the politician) had fulfilled his promises, he wouldn’t be the first mayor to be recalled.
    Can I change the second sentence into: he wouldn’t be the first mayor ‘’who is’’ recalled. I’ve been told that “to be recalled” is better here. Yes, I’m more used to the “to be P.P”form, too. But I cannot figure out why “ who is recalled “ doesn’t work here. Or can I say the second one is grammatically correct but simply not commonly used?
    If he (the politician) had fulfilled his promises, he wouldn’t be the first mayor to be recalled.

    I'd say the answer is yes. "To be recalled" is an infinitival relative clause modifying "first mayor". Infinitival relative clauses typically have a modal meaning, but here it is equivalent simply to the first mayor who was recalled.

    Nominals containing relatives with this kind of interpretation usually contain a modifier such as "only", "next", "last", or as in your example an ordinal like "first".
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    So, the same question to you if you don’t mind. “ the first mayor who is recalled” does not work in AE, either?
    Not for me. I could say:
    If he (the politician) had fulfilled his promises, he wouldn’t be the first mayor who was recalled. or who had been recalled.
     

    Zhuo

    Member
    Chinese
    If he (the politician) had fulfilled his promises, he wouldn’t be the first mayor to be recalled.

    I'd say the answer is yes. "To be recalled" is an infinitival relative clause modifying "first mayor". Infinitival relative clauses typically have a modal meaning, but here it is equivalent simply to the first mayor who was recalled.

    Nominals containing relatives with this kind of interpretation usually contain a modifier such as "only", "next", "last", or as in your example an ordinal like "first".
    I see.
    So I can make sentences as below:
    She is the only woman to travel in space.
    I’ll be the next one to do the project.
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Exactly. Thank you for the explanation. I thought I did not need to explain the word “ recall”.
    It's not something we say in BE (people are not recalled, they are asked to step down/resign) so yes, explanation was necessary, to my mind.;)

    I agree with this, by the way.
    I’m not convinced that the sentence makes any sense.

    ------

    Therefore, the natural thing to say is:
    If the politician had fulfilled his promises, he wouldn’t be the first mayor to be recalled. :thumbsup:
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It's not something we say in BE (people are not recalled, they are asked to step down/resign) so yes, explanation was necessary, to my mind.;)
    I agree. I assumed recalled meant the opposite – that he had resigned but was later recalled to office (reinstated) because he’d been shown to have done no wrong. :oops:
    You’re not the first one who has this problem (the simple present implies who regularly has this problem)

    But simple present can be used to describe “fact”, right?
    In the sentence, isn’t “not the first one who has this problem” a fact?
    The simple fact stated in the simple present in the main clause is that “you’re not the first”. But the present-tense use in question is the one in the relative clause, which states what action or situation “not being the first” refers to – the same having already applied to lots of other people in the past.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    The original way it is written is far superior to the others, I think. Myridon does give some other possibilities, which I agree are all okay, but the original says what needs to be said very succinctly.

    He was the first mayor to be in the situation of being recalled.

    My alternative, if I'm forced to pick one, would be, "he wouldn’t be the first mayor to have been recalled".

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Some of the most famous politicians in the U.S. have been mayors.

    Richard J. Daley - the corrupt mayor of Chicago for 21 years (he should have been a candidate for recall)
    Fiorello La Guardia - New York mayor who has a major airport named after him
    Rudolph Giuliani - New York
    Etc.
     
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    Zhuo

    Member
    Chinese
    I agree. I assumed recalled meant the opposite – that he had resigned but was later recalled to office (reinstated) because he’d been shown to have done no wrong. :oops:

    The simple fact stated in the simple present in the main clause is that “you’re not the first”. But the present-tense use in question is the one in the relative clause, which states what action or situation “not being the first” refers to – the same having already applied to lots of other people in the past.
    I think I get it now. Thank you so much 😊
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    If he (the politician) had fulfilled his promises, he wouldn’t be the first mayor to be recalled.

    Are you saying this implies he was the second?
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    To me it means he was the first ever. I don't see how it can mean anything else.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    If he (the politician) had fulfilled his promises, he wouldn’t be the first mayor to be recalled.

    Both grammatically and contextually the point is he is unique.

    If he had done A, B would not have happened.

    He did not do A so B did happen.

    What was B?

    B was being the first mayor of that town to be recalled by the voters. Without his failure at A, that precedent would never have been set. He Has earned the distinction of being the first mayor to ever be recalled.

    The sentence is about events that already happened ("if he had"). If you want to make a sentence about the future:

    If he (the politician) doesn't fulfill his promises, he won’t be the first mayor to be recalled.

    In that sentence, other mayors have been recalled in the past and the writer predicts he is at risk of joining them.
     
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    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    B was being the first mayor of that town to be recalled by the voters.
    "He wouldn't be the first" can't grammatically be taken to mean "He would be the first."
    B was NOT being the first mayor to be recalled. B was being the latest in a string of recalled mayors.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    That's simply impossible as worded. He is the first mayor ever to be recalled and will be to the end of time. That distinction belongs to him and no one else, no matter how many mayors are recalled in the future.

    If he had fulfilled his promises, he wouldn’t be the first mayor to be recalled.

    The key is it's past tense speaking from today. The recall election has happened. The results are known. The voters voted him out. He is, today, rightly described as the first mayor to be recalled. It's a status conferred on him (in the present) by the recent election.

    You seem to be confusing it with this more general, hypothetical idea.

    If he hadn't fulfilled his promises, he wouldn’t be the first mayor to be recalled.

    This is saying that if he didn't fulfill his promises it would not be unprecedented to recall him. Other have been recalled. But this is a hypothetical statement about a hypothetical scenario. The OP sentence is about a concrete scenario where a mayor didn't perform and did get recalled.

    "He wouldn't be the first" can't grammatically be taken to mean "He would be the first."
    If it's part of an if statement that's exactly the situation. The facts are he is the first mayor ever to be recalled. How do you describe how that situation came to be?

    If he had fulfilled his promises then there wouldn't have been an election. Since he didn't fulfill his promises there was an election. If there wasn't an election he wouldn't be (and couldn't be) the very first mayor ever recalled. Since there was an election and he lost, he was the very first mayor ever recalled (and still is...and always will be).​

    Your meaning cannot work with past tense.

    This would work.

    If he doesn't fulfill his promises and he gets recalled, he won’t be the first mayor to suffer that fate.

    Or you could change the condition of the if clause and retain the past tense.

    If he had been recalled, he wouldn’t have been the first mayor to be recalled. (Obviously an awkward sentence but it demonstrates the principle.)

    That sentence is a hypothetical about the idea that he was recalled. In the original the fact that he was recalled is not a hypothetical. It's a given in the context. The hypothetical part is about him doing his job and how him not doing it led to that given fact.
     
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    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I think you're thinking that because it's not very likely "fulfilling his promises" might actually be the thing that causes him to be recalled. With no context, it very well may be. Chickens are now extinct because he put a chicken in every pot. We should recall him.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Likelihood has nothing to do with it. It's a statement a person made about the situation that happened. That's what they believe. They believe the explanation for the situation that he was the first mayor ever recalled was because he didn't fulfill his promises. That made the citizens unhappy and they voted him out. If he hadn't made them unhappy by breaking his promises they wouldn't have voted him out. No mayor previously had angered voters enough to do that. He is the first with that distinction.
     
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