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Here is the question

Which of the following is INCORRECT?

A.I bought the book for which you asked.

B.Who that you had ever seen is stronger than him?

C.The man and the horse which fell into the river were drowned.

D.This is the place where we visited last year.

The anwser given by a teacher said it is C that is wrong, but in fact all these sentences have no grammatical problem, only some of them sound a little weird.

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  • A is correct but very formal; in real life people would say "I bought the book you asked for." I can find fault with all the other three sentences. Jun 11 '21 at 7:31
  • @KateBunting but these are correct: 1. "Well, the room where you visit with the prisoners is on the second floor." 2. "You'll see the study where Jackson stood to prepare his lessons at an upright desk, the dining room where he conducted Bible study and prayer before breakfast each morning and the parlor where he visited with his wife by the fire at night." So why is OP's last sentence incorrect? Jun 12 '21 at 2:07
  • @Man_From_India Because you visit a place, you don't 'visit at' or 'in' it. (I, personally, would say 'visit the prisoners', but I accept that 'visit with' may be acceptable in some varieties of English.) Jun 12 '21 at 8:17
  • @KateBunting my point is not that. It's a relative clause where "where" is a Preposition Please. We can say "visit here/there", where "here" and "there" are preposition. "He visited the parlor with his wife" and when we use it as a relative clause it will be "the parlor he visited with his wife". Yes "visit with" is an acceptable construction with a different meaning, but this one in our discussion is different. I quoted those sentence to just demonstrate that "the room where he visited" is acceptable. Well, in OP's sentence the antecedent is different - "the place". Jun 12 '21 at 8:35
  • What is acceptable is also depends on the antecedents. So I am not very sure whether OP's last sentence is correct. But without giving much thought it seems it is Jun 12 '21 at 8:37
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Native British English speaker here, and I'm sure they are all wrong.

A.I bought the book for which you asked.

This is the most convincing, as it sounds like a very formal construction of "I bought the book you asked for". However, there are different meanings of the word "for", and the formal construction leans towards it meaning 'on behalf of'. In other words, it sounds like the person did some asking on behalf of the book, rather than actually requesting the book be bought. I can't imagine even the queen would say this.

B.Who that you had ever seen is stronger than him?

Just plain wrong.

C.The man and the horse which fell into the river were drowned.

Incorrect use of "which". It should be "the man and the horse that fell into the river were drowned". There is some ambiguity in this statement (were the man and horse together?) but ambiguity doesn't mean ungrammatical.

D.This is the place where we visited last year.

If you use 'visit' to mean you travelled to a single destination (not matter how large that destination is), you should say "this is the place that we visited last year. Chiefly in US English, 'visit' is sometimes used intransitively to mean an ongoing period of visiting different places, so it is possible this might be heard, but it definitely sounds wrong to a British English speaker.

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    In C, people tend to believe that the man is riding the horse and that they fell together, but if from a pure grammatical angle, it is possible that the man and the horse have no connection, so that is why I say C is correct,(the man)+ (the horse which fell into the river), but not (the man + the horse) that fell into the river. @Astralbee Jun 11 '21 at 9:16
  • @NanningYouth that is true, but that is an example of ambiguity, and ambiguous statements are not necessarily ungrammatical. My English teacher always used to cite "my father travels to work in a bowler hat" as an example of ambiguity. There is nothing wrong with the sentence at all, but is the hat his vehicle?
    – Astralbee
    Jun 11 '21 at 9:47
  • Or 'which we visited'. B should be 'stronger than he is'. Jun 11 '21 at 11:55
  • @KateBunting Not in this sentence. If you were adding detail you might say "the place which we visited was nice", but not if you were just identifying the place.
    – Astralbee
    Jun 11 '21 at 12:12
  • Well, I would say it! Jun 11 '21 at 12:15

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