1. Who do you know would want to do that ?.

  2. Who do you know who would want to do that ?.

Consider the declarative version : You know who would want to do that. -> Interrogative version, which form by subject–auxiliary inversion should be 1 and it sound more natural to me.Why is there another "who" like in 2nd ?. When I search on google with the exact phrases,"who do you know would" vs "who do you know who would" , I get even more results with the latter.

  • 1) doesn't sound right. As for 2) I think I would say it "Who do you know that would want to do that?" but then its a duplicate that, although the second "that" would be easier to deal with. – user3169 Aug 23 '14 at 17:58
  • 2
    Consider: 1. "You know [ [(that) Tom] / [who] ] would want to do that."; 2. "You know [ people / a person ] who would want to do that." – F.E. Aug 23 '14 at 21:22
  • They're both natural but mean different things. It's not possible to delete who from 2—that's not how 1 is formed. – snailcar Sep 9 '14 at 12:07

In OP's examples, most likely the second who (a relative pronoun which could be replaced by that) would be "deleted" (not uttered) by many if not most native speakers, if only on the grounds of "elegance".

But if we consider another example of the general construction...

1: Who does John know would want to kill him?
2a: Who does John know that would want to kill him?
2b: Who does John know who would want to kill him?

...it should be obvious that #1 asks which people John thinks might want to kill him, whereas #2 asks which (of all the people John knows) the speaker and her audience think might want to kill John. (It's entirely a matter of stylistic choice whether to use that or who in OP's example #2 and my #2a/b.)

Thus in some contexts, the second "relativiser" can safely be "deleted" without affecting or obscuring the meaning. But in others it can't, so it will normally be present or absent according to the intended sense.

  • Oh. I never think they are different in meaning. So what would be the declarative version of 2? – user2747502 Aug 23 '14 at 18:20
  • @user2747502: "I (or we) know who [it is] [that] John knows who (or that) would want to kill him". It's just a fluke that in your example the person being addressed is the same person who might know something, so to avoid two uses of who in different ways within the same utterance, people might be inclined to either delete the second, or replace it with that. – FumbleFingers Aug 23 '14 at 18:42
  • @user2747502: your sentence 2) declarative I would write as: "You know someone who would want to do that." I think it shows the difference between 1) and 2) as explained by FumbleFingers – oerkelens Sep 9 '14 at 12:05
  1. Who do you know would want to do that ?.

This is a standard general way of usage.

2.Who do you know who would want to do that ?.

As many have pointed out, this is "reflexive pronoun" usage. Mostly used in plays,scripts and mostly archaic and imperial dialogues.

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