I came across this problem in my textbook, and I don't understand why the answer is 'as' and not 'that'. "We are attracted to people who have a sense of humor, who can laugh at the same things ____ we laugh at." In the sentence above, the word that goes in the blank is 'as' according to the textbook. Could someone explain why?

Thank you in advance.

  • "Same as" is used to indicate similarity; the thing/person is similar and may even look identical but is not the exact particular thing/person as mentioned before. "Same that" is used to indicate when the item or person is actually the exact same that discussed; it may look similar or different but is actually the same that was discussed in another part of the sentence. – Bernadette Jun 8 '15 at 23:46
  • @Oksana Have a look at Colin's answer. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 8 '15 at 23:56

Good question, because it is not obvious.

Same usually takes a nominal complement with as, so the same things as .... is expected.

What makes it tricky is that here it appears to take a clausal complement. This is because there is an omitted noun phrase: the form given is equivalent to the same things as the ones (that) we do.

The same things that we do would be possible, syntactically, but it is less idiomatic.


"... people... who can laugh at the same things as we laugh at".

Here's why "as" is correct:

  1. Making comparisons using the adjective "same":

"They're the same rules as in French."
"Let's meet at the same time as yesterday."

  1. "same" followed by the pronoun that":

Now, let's look at the following examples:

"This is the same car that we rented last summer."
"Is this the same book that you spoke to me about, the other day?"

In the above examples, the speaker isn't making any comparison. On the other hand, a reference is being made by using "same" (adj), followed by "that" (pronoun), which does its job by referring back to the noun "car" in the first sentence, and "book" in the other.

For a learner, keen on making some personal conclusions about the complexities of a language, this may be confusing. But, with time, one can master such nuances on the usage of certain expressions, I believe.


Same generally goes with as: "X is the same as Y", "X does the same things as Y", etc.

That said, "X does the same things that Y does" is also perfectly correct; in fact, I find "that we laugh at" to be slightly preferable to "as we laugh at". The latter sounds a bit stilted. (But I think I'd be more likely to say "that we do" or "as us".)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.