I heard the following sentence on TV at a speech by a native speaker.

"...There has been no American that has needed a ventilator that has not received one."

As you can see, there are two relative clauses(two "that"s) in this sentence, which refer to the same name(an american). But there is no "and" between these two clauses. So the second "that" seems as if it refers to "ventilator", whereas it refers to the word "american".

This is against what we are taught at school, because at school relative clause should be placed right after the thing it refers to.

1-Is this sentence grammatically correct like this; being not connected without "and"?

2-What would be the correct version of this sentence?


  • There is no question that has needed an answer that has not received one. :). An editor in a written text would change it but it's fine as spoken language.
    – Lambie
    Apr 16, 2020 at 16:40
  • As a native speaker, "that" sounds a bit weird to me too. "and" sounds more natural.
    – user57928
    Apr 16, 2020 at 19:09
  • This sentence might be grammatically correct, or maybe not, i'm not sure. However it is most definitely unclear, and you shouldn't write sentences like this. When speaking however this might just be how it comes out. Apr 16, 2020 at 19:51

1 Answer 1


Grammatically, that is a nested situation:
There has been {no American that has needed a ventilator} that has not received one.
So the second relative clause refers to the American qualified by the first clause as needing a ventilator, and it is correctly placed immediately after it. However, it is clunky. Your suggestion of using "and" would make a coordination forming one relative clause, and I agree it would be clearer.

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