Pronouns II, Intransitive
Verbs with the Genitive or Ablative
Relative pronouns must not
Vergilius est poeta quem maxime admiror
est poeta maxime admiror
A Roman would be as confused
by “The poet I admire most is Vergil” as we are by “I saugh a
beest was lyk an hound” (= I saw a beast which was like a dog) at
Chaucer Nun’s Priest’s Tale 133f.
No attempt is made here to
distinguish between “which” (or “who”) and “that”. The distinction
between “The pigs that are feeding in the field are fat” (i.e. specific
pigs) and “Wolves kill pigs, which are lovable creatures” (i.e.
pigs in general) appears to be largely defunct in all but the most careful
and conservative modern English usage. (See also the Fetutinae
to Chapter 3, on “shall”/“will”.)
On the other hand, the declension
of the pronouns (both relative and interrogative) “who”, “whom”
and “whose”, one of the last remnants of English inflection, performs
a very useful function, “who” being used only as the subject, “whom”
as the object and with prepositions, “whose” denoting possession.
The tendency to replace “whom” with “who” (as in “The girl
who I love”) is to be resisted, although the OED (1989) states
that the use of “whom” is “no longer current in natural colloquial
speech”. The converse replacement, as in “I know the girl whom he
says loves pigs”, is simply a solecism.
is unusual, since very few deponent verbs lack the perfect system. (The
majority belong to the first conjugation and are entirely regular.)