I have these two questions:

Are developed countries the one who left? Are the firms the one who left?"

I want to combine them using "or". Is this correct:

Are developed countries the one who left or are they the firms?

Also, it is correct to use "who" in this way?

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    – M.A.R.
    Nov 30 '15 at 17:42
  • i want to ask someone this question .i do not know how to express it correctly.
    – tbp
    Nov 30 '15 at 17:47
  • Well, which part do you think is correct? Which part is doubtful? (And if you can explain, why?)
    – M.A.R.
    Nov 30 '15 at 17:48
  • "are developed countries the one who left? are the firms the one who left?" i want to combine them using 'or'. and is the word 'who' correct?
    – tbp
    Nov 30 '15 at 17:50
  • @tbp - Now that we know what you're asking about, I've reopened the question.
    – J.R.
    Nov 30 '15 at 21:12

It can be as simple as joining the two questions with "or":

Are the developed countries the ones that left, or are the firms the ones that left?

That is a perfectly decent, unremarkable sentence all by itself.

Your original sentence,

Are developed countries the one who left or are they the firms?

is not really correct because the "they" sounds like it refers to the developed countries, which is not what you mean - this sentence sounds like "Are the developed countries the ones who left? Or are developed countries the firms?"

One vs Ones: It has to be "ones", not "one", because "countries" and "firms" are plural, so we have to use the plural "ones", not the singular "one".

Who vs That: Usually, "who" is for people and "that" for objects. Some resources say that groups of people, like countries, should be referred to with "that", but you will also find resources that say groups of people can be referred to with "who". In informal speech, "who" is fine, since both countries and firms are groups of people.

Other possibilities: If you really want to phrase it a different way, other possibilities are

Were the developed countries the ones who left, or was it the firms?
Did the developed countries leave, or did the firms?
Which ones left, the developed countries or the firms?

  • I am very confused about the meaning of this sentence!!!! developed countries left?!! the ones that left?!!! or the firms? what do these mean?! it is the strangest sentence I ever heard in English!
    – Ahmad
    Dec 1 '15 at 18:24
  • @Ahmad - You will probably understand the question better if you read tbp's original question about the context: ell.stackexchange.com/questions/74414/…
    – stangdon
    Dec 1 '15 at 18:37
  • Thank you, yeah without that post, it was hard to guess what the sentence speak about. Now, I know that "the firms left in search of cheaper labor", but what still "leave" means for "firms"?
    – Ahmad
    Dec 1 '15 at 19:07

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