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A taxi driver has just dropped a customer off at a building. Before the taxi driver drives off, the police arrives.

Taxi driver - Who are you looking for?

Police officer - His name is James Davis.

Taxi driver - Oh my God, that's the guy I drove here. He just went inside.

Question: Is the highlighted part natural?

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    Completely natural. Why wouldn't it be?
    – Lambie
    Feb 22, 2021 at 19:10

2 Answers 2

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Yes. It is normal.

E.g.

I drove John to the railway station.

My father drove me here in his new Ferrari.

We know that the job of a taxi-driver is to drive people (to) places.

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In response to your yes or no question, and as a matter of opinion, I would say yes, on the following basis.

Using the only reasonable alternative pronoun in that line would make it, "Oh my God, he's the guy I drove here. He just went inside." There's a certain degree of redundancy, given the cop has already said a typically masculine name and used a masculine pronoun, and because however unconsciously he might know it, the taxi driver already has the sentence "He just went inside" queued up next. Changing that final sentence to "That just went inside." doesn't work on its own. In this role with personal pronouns, that only works as a modifier to specify a individual or to extend and connect additional modifiers to a clear and original subject: "He's the guy I drove over here that just went inside 10 minutes ago." works, but it also implies that there's another guy the taxi driver just drove over here who went inside 5 minutes ago. Going back to the direct substitution on your original, "That just went inside 10 minutes ago.", wouldn't work because James Davis is a person, not a 'that'. So the reason that works for "that's the guy I just drove here" works and rings naturally because the taxi driver and a cop both know that a taxi driver drives lots of guys. James Davis just happens to be the guy that the taxi driver just drove over here.

Additionally, the inference one might make from "he's the guy I drove here" could be a certain degree of familiarity or intimacy on the part of the taxi driver -- i.e.: "Mick Jagger? He's the guy I drove here [and I already knew who he was and you do too because he's Mick Jagger]." vs. "James Davis? That's the guy I drove here [whose name I happened to catch and who I would have forgotten by tonight except now you're asking about him]." That's a more subtle distinction, and similarly "he's the guy I drove" could work for James Davis as it might suggest a degree of shock/surprise at the coincidence more readily, but frankly, in the context of the exchange and participants, your original "that's the guy..." rings more true.

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