I have this sentence of which I am not sure: "Establishing a commission in six months at the latest who will determine the rules of appointment"

I do not want to move time expression to the end not to cause confusion but is the sentence grammatically correct if words come between the object and relative pronoun?

Can you help me out? Thanks.

  • 3
    Yes, that's fine, but you need the relative word which here, not the word who. Dec 19, 2016 at 13:02
  • @Araucaria thanks, I just assumed that since the commission is composed of people, I could use who. Is there a rule for words coming between relative pronouns and nouns they define?
    – alperz
    Dec 19, 2016 at 13:07
  • I'm afraid I don't know why who doesn't work here, but, er, it doesn't! Dec 19, 2016 at 13:23
  • @alperz: Who, which, that, whose, whom are relative pronouns. Some people think there's a rule about whether to use "which" or "that", but most people either don't know or don't care about that anyway. Your example is complicated by the fact that it's actually a commission which will decide who will determine the rules, but you haven't included that bolded element in your phrasing. Dec 19, 2016 at 13:24
  • The syntactic phenomenon you're asking about is called Extraposition from Noun Phrase. Dec 19, 2016 at 15:17

1 Answer 1


Faced with complexity, it is often useful to rethink the entire sentence. As it stands, the primary point sort of gets lost. It is awkward to read through the beginning without already understanding everything. The placement of "at the latest" is a minor concern compared to overall clarity. Perhaps it would be better to state:

  • A commission will be established within six months to determine the rules of appointment.

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