Google Translator translates c'est moi qui decide as "it is I who decides." I'm confused about "decides" being correct, since there is I before who.

Is decides right, or should decide be used?


5 Answers 5


Though it seems strange, "it is I" is considered the correct formal form, though it has come to be accepted in modern times that people no longer talk that way in casual conversation. Grammar Girl explains this very nicely (original link)

A listener named Jodie wanted to know which is correct: "It is I" or "It is me."


The traditional grammar rule states when a pronoun follows a linking verb, such as "is," the pronoun should be in the subject case. It’s also called the “nominative.” That means it is correct to say, “It is I,” and “It was he who dropped the phone in shock when Jodie answered, 'This is she,'” because "he" is the same type of pronoun as "I."

It's very much like the difference in saying "who are you speaking to" vs "to whom are you speaking" - the latter is the correct form, but it is now considered so formal that it would be considered odd to speak that way in casual conversation.

Now, as to "decide" vs "decides":

Consider these two proper forms: The judge will decide. The judge is the one who decides.

"Decides" is called the "3rd person singular present" form. This is one of those odd situations where adding an 's' to a word does not make it plural, but rather converts it to being a 3rd person singular form.

Note that is, too, is something about which there is some controversy. Even dedicated grammarians can reasonably disagree, so you have justification for using whichever form you think is best:

It Is I Who Thank You

Finally, in the original version of this podcast, I wrote said, “Until next time, it is I, Grammar Girl, who thanks you for listening,” which created something of a firestorm in the comments section. Someone insisted that it should be “It is I, Grammar Girl, who thank you,” and I changed it and then a bunch of people thought that was wrong,” so I want to set the record straight once and for all.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary of English Usage (7) different usage commenters have made different arguments for the use of either a singular or a plural verb in sentences that start “It is I who,” so it’s not surprising that we saw arguments for both a singular and a plural verb in the the comments on the Grammar Girl.

Merriam-Webster notes that this is a rare type of sentence, and there’s no strong consensus about which verb is right. However, in the examples they’ve gathered, it’s more common to use the verb that goes with “I.” One of their examples reads, “It is I who possess these attributes (8).” So, ignoring the appositive, I’m going to stick with “It is I, Grammar Girl, who thank you for listening.”

One even stranger example of plurals that aren't plurals is "the pilot will fly the plane" vs "the pilot flies the plane". In this case I think there would be universal agreement that "the pilot fly the plane" is just completely wrong, so you see this is one of those 'gotchas' where you just have to go by feel instead of by rule.

  • +1 for the Grammar Girl link, but a fraction of a point off for not quoting the last piece of the link, which said that among grammarians, there is dispute as to whether "it is I who decides" or "it is I who decide" is correct. They are both used, and although one might think the rules of grammar would single out just one of these as correct, there is no agreement on this. May 8, 2013 at 16:08
  • @PeterShor You know I completely missed that whole section of the article! I'll revise to add this quote!
    – BrianH
    May 8, 2013 at 16:23

The correct phrase is "It is me who decides."

Let's split it into two parts:

  1. "It is me..." - a correct form
  2. "... who decides" - who here is singular, so the correct verb form is "decides"

Thus we get: It is me who decides.

  • We never get a plural "who". I think you mean "me" is just one person, so it should be in singular form.
    – canoe
    May 8, 2013 at 5:29
  • 2
    No, it's possible to use "who" with plurals, e.g. there is a movie "They Who Dare" or "Blessed are they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness..." May 8, 2013 at 5:35
  • OK, so it means plural and singular forms are same, both are Who.
    – canoe
    May 8, 2013 at 6:28
  • @canoe Those users who vote to close decided the question was off-topic.
    – apaderno
    May 8, 2013 at 9:09

You could change the structure a bit to clarify it:

"I am the person that who decides"

Split that up and you get "I am (something)" where something is a reference to "The person (who) decides/walks/sleeps".

Using a different form you'd get the following:

"We are the people who decide"

-> "We are (something/a group of trees/a bunch of idiots/the people who decide)"

Finally the use of I is grammatically correct, though the use of me is more generally accepted.

Relevant link


"Who" has no identity of its own. It follows the number and person of the antecedent. The correct sentence is "It is I who decide" . Some similar sentences-- 1.It is I who am helping you. 2.It is you who need to listen. 3.It is she who talks all the time. 4. It is the teachers who are responsible for it.


It is I who decide... is the correct use of verb as "It is" is used to emphasise the subject which , in this particular sentence is I. I always use the present form of verb.

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