0

Which one is right?

Just an ordinary person who waits for an idiot.
Just an ordinary person waiting for an idiot.

I've been confused about this thing. I need someone help me to answer this or give me a correct sentence.

migrated from english.stackexchange.com Jan 24 '18 at 13:14

This question came from our site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts.

  • (1) Neither one is a complete sentence. (2) Either one could be fine inside a full sentence. (3) You might want to check out English Language Learners. – J.R. Jan 23 '18 at 17:16
  • 1
    Whether it's who waits, waiting, or who is waiting, your text isn't even a complete sentence (it's just a noun phrase). All variations are syntactically valid, though if you gave us a more complete context it might be that one should be preferred over another. But it would always be Primarily Opinion-Based. – FumbleFingers Jan 23 '18 at 17:18
  • I've voted to close as POB here on ELU, but on reflection it could be a valid question for ELL. Provided it's modified to make it clear that the specific aspect of syntax being queried is the difference between Someone who does something and Someone who is doing something. – FumbleFingers Jan 23 '18 at 17:21
  • Should i put the subject to make it clear? – user276628 Jan 24 '18 at 4:16
  • @user The problem here is that both are grammatically correct, but which is best depends on the meaning you want to convey. Adding a subject and verb will resolve the issue that you have not given a complete sentence, but may do nothing to determine the intended meaning. That requires a lot more than a subject and a verb. – Jeff Morrow Jan 24 '18 at 13:43
1

I am going to try to answer this question despite its vagueness.

First, both noun phrases are grammatical.

Second, a careless speaker or writer may use either without recognizing that they have different meanings.

Third, "person who waits for an idiot" would be appropriate to describe someone who habitually waits for an idiot. A "person waiting for an idiot" or a "person who is waiting for an idiot" would be appropriate to describe someone who merely happens to be waiting for an idiot at the current time. You may need to review the different usages of the simple present tense and the continuous present tense.

Fourth, no one can tell you which noun phrase is better to make your intended meaning clear unless you explain what you want convey.

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.