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Passive sentence and more

Posted by Bob on November 11, 2000

In Reply to: Passive sentence and more posted by George Gore on November 11, 2000

: Hi!

: Which passive sentence is more common, do you think? [This watch was given (to) me by my uncle.] or [I was given this watch by my uncle.]?

: Do you accept all of the following sentences?

: i) [There is a Mr. Green wants to see you.]
: ii) [There is a Mr. Green who wants to see you.]
: iii) [There is a Mr. Green that wants to see you.]

: Sentence i) may not be acceptable while sentences ii) and iii) are good, I suppose.
: And can I say 'that' is more common than 'who' in spoken English?

: Thank you very much.

: Regards,

: George Gore

I suspect the two passive sentences would be about 50/50. I agree that sentence i. would not be acceptable. And I would venture the opinion that the use of "that" and "who" in sentences ii and iii would also break about 50/50 in the general population... but among educated, careful speakers, the overwhelming majority would use "who."

Those are opinions. I have no empirical data to back it up.