What's the difference among the following?

  1. Isn't it the same radio that I lost last year?
  2. Isn't it the same radio as I lost last year?
  3. Isn't it the radio that I lost last year?

I'd appreciate your help.

  • "the difference" is very broad. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 31 '18 at 15:07

First of all, the natural way of expressing this does not use "it." You are talking about a specific radio, so you would say "that," or if you are holding it in your hands, you would say "this."

Isn't that the same radio I lost last year?

Isn't this the same radio I lost last year?

Even better is a modification of your last option

Isn't this the radio I lost last year?

Isn't that the radio I lost last year?

You can insert the second "that"

Isn't this the radio that I lost last year?

To address your original question about "as" and "that," I would not use "as" without any other words in this context. You could expand it to

Isn't this the same radio as the one I lost last year?

But it's overly wordy in my opinion.

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  • Are you a native speaker of English? Also, you haven't explained the difference between "the same...as..." and "the same...that...," even if the former contains the extra words. – Apollyon Mar 30 '18 at 15:24
  • Yes, I'm a native speaker, located in the US. I'm not sure I can really explain the theoretical differences between the "as" and "that" usages. Instead I just presented the normal cases you see, for what that's worth. – farnsy Mar 30 '18 at 16:16

Both as and that can be introducers of a relative clause. They serve the same purpose. However, the word as has fallen out of use in this role; it was far more popular in the 18th and 19th centuries than it is in standard English today, though it does survive in regional dialects. Thus, using as today in that role could well have sociolect implications.

Your question is complicated by the fact that same is involved, and same...as is still current.

My car's the same color as his. standard/idiomatic

That's the same car as was stolen last year. non-standard

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  • I was told that "the same...as..." (with "as" introducing a relative clause) is about identity of model / make of something, whereas "the same...that..." expresses total identity, .i.e. "same" can be left out without changing the propositional meaning. – Apollyon Mar 30 '18 at 22:40
  • You were told something far too specific. What if the thing in question is not a manufactured item? And I don't have a clue what you mean by "total identity". – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 31 '18 at 0:07
  • Some people say "This is the same book that I lost last week" is equal to "This is the book that I lost last week." – Apollyon Mar 31 '18 at 13:56
  • So your question is about the word same and not about the words you bolded in the question? – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 31 '18 at 14:13
  • 1
    same can merely provide emphasis (I've lost that book twice now!) or it can denote "identity" (This is indeed the very same book I lost last week -- we have found it.) In one scenario the book is lost, in the other, found. Opposite meanings, propositionally. P.S. Since this is deictic, context is essential to our understanding of the statement. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 31 '18 at 15:18

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