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Please, help me to get rid from following problems:

1) He proposed to her, who had requited his love from the moment they met.

2) She, whom he had met only two weeks before, thought his proposal premature.

3) I am asking her, who is a doctor.

4) It is he whom they provoke to anger.

a) In first example, 'who' is indicating to 'her'. But 'who' is subjective case while 'her' is objective case. In second example 'whom' is indicating to 'she'. Here, 'she' is subjective case, where 'whom' is objective case. Are these sentences are right? If these are wrong, please give the right form them.

b) Are 3 and 4 are right? If these sentences are right, why the first and second sentences will be wrong? If they are wrong, please give the right form of them.

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    The identity required between definite pronoun and antecedent (e.g., between "her" and "who" in your first example) is identity of reference. That is, they have to refer to the same thing. Any difference of case form is not relevant. – Greg Lee Mar 20 '15 at 17:50
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    The question shows that you're confused about subject and object. It's the words that count, not what they refer to. That is, he and whom are separate words that refer to the same person; he is the predicate nominal of one clause in (4), and whom is the object of another clause. (1) and (3) are ungrammatical for reasons of pronoun choice and confusion between restrictive and non-restrictive relative clauses. (2) and (4) are grammatical, but so formal that no one would ever say them spontaneously. – John Lawler Mar 20 '15 at 18:43
  • There's nothing wrong having "who" and "her" in different cases. From Jane Austen: "Circumstances that might swell to half an hour's relation, and contained multiplied proofs to her who had seen them, had passed undiscerned by her who now heard them." – Peter Shor Mar 20 '15 at 18:50
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    I'm asking her, who is a doctor?? <brrr> I can't modify an object pronoun with any kind of relative; appositives are OK, but not relatives. *I love to eat it, which is made in Malaysia. I think there's a conflict between the de-emphasis required for pronominalization and the emphasis required for a non-restrictive clause. – John Lawler Mar 20 '15 at 19:56
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    @JohnLawler, I agree with your diagnosis of a problem with (3). I found that to accept it, I had to imagine a situation where I was pointing at her (the doctor) and thus emphasizing "her". But the point here is that the mismatch in cases between "her" and "who" is irrelevant. – Greg Lee Mar 20 '15 at 20:33
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In short, they are all grammatically correct.

(1) He proposed to her, who had requited his love from the moment they met.

(2) She, whom he had met only two weeks before, thought his proposal premature.

(3) I am asking her, who is a doctor.

These are all examples of a non-restrictive relative clause, and the relative pronoun takes the case needed in the relative clause, completely independent of the referent, whose case is determined by the main clause. So "who is a doctor" is correct, and the case of "her" is irrelevant. The same goes for possessive and other cases:

He was talking to her, whose family had recently moved in next door. [from "his family"]

A year later I again met him, to whom the kingdom now belonged. [from "belonged to him"]

You should be careful of him, about whom there are many strange accounts.

We ought not to praise them, because of whom many people have suffered. [from "suffered because of them"]

But as John Lawler said, (1),(3) are rather unusual, because they have a pronoun as an object of the main verb and as a referent of a non-restrictive relative clause. Here are smoother alternatives, but they have possibly with slightly different meanings from what you may have intended:

(1) He proposed to her, the very one who had requited his love from the moment they met.

(3) I am asking her, since she is a doctor.

As for the last one:

(4) It is he whom they provoke to anger.

"whom they provoke ..." is neither a restrictive nor non-restrictive relative clause, but still a subordinate clause and hence follows the same case rules as for relative clauses. However, the "it" here is part of a fixed construction, a type of cleft sentence, and does not change even for the plural:

It is they who want this.

It is they whose advice we sought.

  • Dear user21820, you have said-"the relative pronoun takes the case needed in the relative clause, completely independent of the referent, whose case is determined by the main clause. The same goes for possessive and oblique cases". This statement is very much complicated for me. I failed to understand the gist of this sentences. Please, make it easy for me. I think from your explanation I am going to solve this problem clearly. – Nazmul Hassan May 3 '15 at 11:44
  • Dear useruser21820,You also said-" having a pronoun as an object of the main verb and as a referent of a non-restrictive relative clause, and there are smoother alternatives, though possibly with slightly different meanings:". Please, make it easy. – Nazmul Hassan May 3 '15 at 11:51
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    @NazmulHassan: You should take a look at ego4u.com/en/cram-up/grammar/relative-clauses to see what the case of the relative pronoun should be. The main clause is the one without the relative clause, and the referent is the noun phrase that is modified by the relative clause. The case of the referent is irrelevant to the case of the relative pronoun. I'll edit to make my other statement clearer. – user21820 May 3 '15 at 13:36

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