Can I say

Why should I be the first who call him?

Or should I say

Why should I be the first to call him?

in present tense, referring to the future?


Either is acceptable, but the version with the infinitival clause (first to call) is far more common.

Note that if you do use the version with the relative clause, the verb call must be in the third person and agree with the referent of who in number:

I will be the first [person] who calls him.
We will the first [people] who call him.


Use a non-finite clause when the subject is the same as the subject in the main clause. We can understand the time/tense referred to from the context of the main clause. we often use "to-infinite" in non-finite relative clause after ordinal numbers (the first, the second etc.), superlatives (the best, the most beautiful etc.) and after next, last and only.

So, Why should I be the first to call him? is correct.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.