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I'm not sure how the following sentence should be built:

"She gives a blanket to me, who (am/is/?) cold"

I can't come up with anything that sounds right, and I'm not certain there is a right. Can this be done in English? Obviously in this example sentence, it should be restructured to sound normal, but I'm looking for a rule on this structure.

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    You might take a look at this question: english.stackexchange.com/q/28662/18655 – JLG Mar 3 '14 at 22:08
  • Undoubtedly, the historical answer is "who am". I am inclined to the view that modern English has no rule for this. I don't doubt that you can find pundits telling you what you should say, but to me neither choice sounds right. The puzzling thing is that this implies that the construction is ungrammatical, but only with the word "me", not with any other pronoun. – Colin Fine Mar 3 '14 at 22:16
  • A bare 'She gives a blanket to me' sounds odd enough. The whole sentence sounds positively archaic. 'I was cold, so she gave me a blanket' sounds like something a normal person might say. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 3 '14 at 22:19
  • @Colin: I don't want to come across as a "pundit", but surely the "lesser of two evils" is "...to I, who am cold." ? – FumbleFingers Mar 3 '14 at 22:20
  • @FumbleFingers: descriptively, you may be right. It's not what I would say (if I had to, I'd go with to me, who is cold) but I can quite imagine, for example, people having unconsciously internalised a rule that says "if in doubt, use 'I'". But I don't think you risk being a pundit: they would all roundly lambast you for that "I". – Colin Fine Mar 3 '14 at 22:32
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My comment to the question notwithstanding, it seems that when faced with this difficult choice, the majority have gone with the me + am version...

Be a guide to me who am empty of every good work.
You alone, O Jesus, are everything to me who am all yours.
Come then to me, who am a midwife

etc., etc,...

There are at least dozens, if not hundreds of similar forms in Google Books. Admittedly, most of them are old (and of course, there's no way of measuring the vastly greater number of times writers have simply rephrased to avoid the problem). But it's a "vote of confidence" of sorts.

Per @Colin's comments above, I don't think there's any doubt that strictly speaking, there is no other grammatically valid alternative. But obviously no-one much likes it, so we usually rephrase.


Since I hold him in such high regard, I must just cite Daniel Defoe's 1719 Robinson Crusoe...

in common justice to me, who was a considerable owner in the ship, the could not turn me as it were out of my own house.

...to show that me has to be right. It just works better with a past rather than present tense verb.

  • I am shocked, simply shocked, that you answered this question when JLG made clear that this is a duplicate. Have you no concern about the sanctity of this site? ;-) [I hate emoticoms!] – bib Mar 3 '14 at 22:55
  • Hoist by own petard! Okay, I'll closevote. @JLG - why on earth did you say "You might take a look at this" rather than closevoting? Or at least saying something a bit clearer that might have made me actually follow the link before answering? – FumbleFingers Mar 3 '14 at 22:59
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    @bib: I have concern for the sanctity of the site. Doubtless only Americans would have concern about such a thing. But us Brits would certainly express concerns about the prospect of the site getting bogged down in such pettifogging pedantry! :) – FumbleFingers Mar 3 '14 at 23:04

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