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How do I say the following phrases - typeset in bold - without using "who"? The situation is children on a playground, and attention is given to those on the swings. If I wanted to say something slightly different, the first phrase in bold could be simply stated. "If a child already on the swings were to leave the playground, the fraction of children playing on the swings would be 2/7."

Here is the situation.

There are some children on a playground, and some of them are playing on the swings. If another child were to enter the playground and play on the swings, the fraction of children playing on the swings would be 3/10. If a child already on the playground who had not been playing on the swings were to leave the playground, the fraction of children playing on the swings would be 2/7. Compute the number of children on the playground who are not playing on the swings.

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    Why do you want to avoid the pronoun "who"? Is another pronoun acceptable or are you trying to avoid pronouns completely? (And "in the playground") – user323578 Apr 17 at 21:49
  • I would prefer to avoid "question pronouns." (I have always heard "children on the playground," "children on the school bus," and "children in school.") – A gal named Desire Apr 17 at 21:52
  • Compute the readability of that quote. It really sucks, "who" aside. – Hot Licks Apr 17 at 21:53
  • @Hot Licks I know what it is saying. It was a question on a county-wide math league competition. So, a lot of high school students also knew what it is saying. – A gal named Desire Apr 17 at 22:10
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    @AgalnamedDesire Those aren’t interrogative pronouns, but relative pronouns. But why do you want to avoid them? It’s a bit like saying you want to avoid verbs or nouns or adjectives – it may make sense as the point of some specific exercise (which is what we’d then need to know what is in order to comply with it), but it doesn’t make any sense as a goal in itself because it doesn’t exist in natural English. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Apr 17 at 22:54
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Suggest:

There are some children in a playground, and some of them are playing on the swings. If a new child were to enter the playground and play on the swings, the fraction of children playing on the swings would be 3/10. If a child, already on the playground but not playing on the swings, were to leave the playground, the fraction of children playing on the swings would be 2/7. Compute the number of children that are in the playground but not playing on the swings.

Used the preposition "in the playground", since it is acceptable and on is already used for swings, and no other substitute would work for that phrase.

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    edited. it does now; forgot last "not" – Carly Apr 17 at 22:52
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    @TrevorD The situation is not ambiguous - but I do understand how there could be confusion. A situation involving n children at a playground is described.m of them are on the swings. If the situation is changed as described in the second sentence, there would be n+1 children on the playground, and m+1 of them would be on the swings. In this case, (m+1)/(n+1)=3/10. If the situation is changed as described in the third sentence, there would be n-1 children on the playground, and m of them would be on the swings. In this case, m/(n-1)=2/7. – A gal named Desire Apr 17 at 23:21
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    @TrevorD With these expressions, we can evaluate m and n. The answer will be m - n. – A gal named Desire Apr 17 at 23:26
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    @AgalnamedDesire it looks like the past auxiliary but it is a mood - subjunctive/irrealis (not-real). "WERE" is to be used in those cases, yes – Carly Apr 18 at 16:42
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    @AgalnamedDesire replacing "who" with "that" in last sentence because the referent is "the number" (that) and not "the children" (who) – Carly Apr 18 at 16:42

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