He is the person I thought would come to the party.

He is the person I thought he would come to the party.

Is the second sentence correct and does it have the same meaning as the first one?

2 Answers 2


The second sentence is not correct.

The first does omit a pronoun (entirely properly), but it is not a personal pronoun: it is a relative pronoun.

He is the person who I thought would come to the party.

  • I've no objection to using that as opposed to who above. Is that because I's British? Apr 8, 2016 at 15:07
  • @FumbleFingers I've no objection to that, as long as you don't follow CGEL in denying that it's a relative pronoun! :) I generally use wh- forms in these examples, in part because it emphasizes the relativity of the expression and in part because I avoid relative that in my own writing, for reasons I explain elsewhere. Apr 8, 2016 at 15:27

As it is, your second sentence is not correct, because it has an extra noun (he) where there shouldn't be a noun.

However if you add a semi-colon, it can be made grammatically correct:

He is the person; I thought he would come to the party.

This has a different meaning. Your first sentence implies some sort of exclusivity:

He is the [only] person I thought would come to the party.

Your second sentence, with the semi-colon, implies a reference to a previous statement in the first part:

He is the person [who I was talking about earlier]; I thought he would come to the party.

The second part of this is non-exclusive, you thought he would come, but you may have also expected others to also come.

  • 1
    "... the [only] person... " is not necessarily true. From the context of the first sentence (not given by the OP), "He" must refer to one identifiable person. The speaker/writer thought that particular person would come to the party. Without more context, the sentence could mean either "I thought that person would come and he did come", or "I thought he would come but he didn't come." The sentence doesn't say anything about other people who may or may not have come.
    – alephzero
    Apr 8, 2016 at 18:14
  • The first sentence is: "He is THE person I thought would come to the party". That does imply exclusivity, that's what "the" means, it's a definite article, it excludes any others (e.g. you say "the Sun", but not "the planet", unless there is a context that makes it clear which planet you mean). If you didn't mean he was the only one, then you would just say, "I thought he would come", or more verbosely, "He is A person I thought would come". Apr 8, 2016 at 18:22
  • 1
    @leftclickben: The exclusivity has to do with the thought, not the attendance.
    – Ben Voigt
    Apr 8, 2016 at 19:43
  • @BenVoigt Where exactly did I say the exclusivity was to do with the attendance? I said it implies "some sort of exclusivity". Yes, it's the thought that is exclusive. The point is there is an implied exclusivity, as compared to the second version which doesn't. I seem to have been downvoted for this and I haven't been told anything about my answer that is wrong. Apr 9, 2016 at 5:16
  • I downvoted, but my explanation got long-winded and I abandoned it. There's no necessary implication of "only" here. It could easily mean "He's the person I was telling you about, when we were discussing the party, the one I expected to attend."
    – TimR
    Apr 9, 2016 at 9:27

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .