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There is nobody John works with who doesn’t love him.

(The sentence means to say that everyone with whom John works loves him.)

What is the core problem in this sentence? The obvious problems that I'm seeing are a too-far antecedent for "who" and a misplaced "John works with" modifier.

Is there something else I'm not seeing? Could the problem be in the syntactic expletive ("There is …") construction itself? (My brain is insisting that expletives like these should be used only for expressions of states and existences, but I can't get it to think deeper.)

To resolve the misplaced modifier and far-antecedent problems, I would have rephrased the sentence as something like

Among the people John works with, there is nobody (not one) who doesn't love him.

Thoughts?

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  • I think the problem stems from a double negative. Even the inversion underneath is stilted, which could be "Everyone who works with John loves him." Jan 14, 2022 at 20:46
  • Does this answer your question? What is the meaning of "Nobody who doesn’t support Trump..."? Is it grammatical?
    – Laurel
    Jan 14, 2022 at 22:22
  • A minor quibble. Since the set is being restricted to folk who John works with, I think isn't anyone or isn't anybody sounds better. And the parallel negation structure probably helps.
    – Phil Sweet
    Jan 14, 2022 at 22:47

1 Answer 1

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There is nothing wrong with it.

There is nobody John works with who doesn’t love him. This gives us:

There is nobody {with whom John works} who doesn’t love him.

("with whom John works" = John works with" = that John works with)

we can omit the adjunct that modifies "nobody" This gives us:

There is nobody who doesn’t love him.

The referent of "who" is "nobody."

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