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I hope this isn't a FAQ ... I'm not a regular follower of this newsgroup. In Louis Auchincloss' 2007 book, The Friend of Women and Other Stories , on page 96, in the midst of otherwise impeccable and elegant prose, I find:
"She was one of those tormented souls who is always unhappy and wants everyone around her to be as unhappy as she is."
Shouldn't this be:
"She was one of those tormented souls who ARE always unhappy and WANT everyone around her to be as unhappy as THEY ARE." ... ???

Is this kind of sloppiness (if that's indeed what it is) becoming common? Is it becoming so common that it's starting to be accepted as correct? I don't think I like that idea.. Thanks! Best,

Tom
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To the English-usage newsgroups I hope this isn't a FAQ ... I'm not a regular follower of this newsgroup. ... tormented souls who ARE always unhappy and WANT everyone around her to be as unhappy as THEY ARE." ... ???

Nope. It's perfect as Auchincloss wrote it. The grammatical subject of the copula "is" is "who", a relative pronoun that refers to "one", which takes the complement phrase "of those tormented souls". Drop the phrase and you get "She is one of those who is always unhappy..." You are using the proximity rule to establish number concord between what you believe is the subject of the copula, "souls". This just doesn't work here at least not for me. Maybe it works for some of the others here, though.
Is this kind of sloppiness (if that's indeed what it is) becoming common? Is it becoming so common that it's starting to be accepted as correct? I don't think I like that idea..

I think that you've got the wrong idea.

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"She was one of those tormented souls who ARE always unhappy and WANT everyone around her to be as unhappy as THEY ARE." ... ???

Nope. It's perfect as Auchincloss wrote it. The grammatical subject of the copula "is" is "who", a relative pronoun that refers to "one",

Eh? Then which tormented souls was she talking about?

Tom's exactly right to object that "who" is plural, and any high-school English textbook will have a whole section of examples backing him up. The relative clause modifies "souls" and tells us what kind of souls she means. The main clause tells us the subject was one of that kind. If the relative clause modified "one," it would be distinguishing her from others of "those tormented souls" (whichever ones they were), suggesting that others in the group were not always unhappy.
Also, if the relative clause did modify "one," surely it should be in the past. "Is" doesn't make sense either way.
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To the English-usage newsgroups I hope this isn't a FAQ ... I'm not a regular follower of this newsgroup. ... of those tormented souls who is always unhappy and wants everyone around her to be as unhappy as she is."

The dependant clause must refer to "those tormented souls" because otherwise it would be "She was one who is unhappy..." It should be "She was one who was unhappy", or "She is one who is unhappy".
Shouldn't this be: "She was one of those tormented souls who ARE always unhappy and WANT everyone around her to ... becoming so common that it's starting to be accepted as correct? I don't think I like that idea.. Thanks! Best,

I heard a half hour show on the Antarctica in which even the "scientists" working on a project there pronounced it Antartica and Antartic. Fortunately, the next week I heard a show where another young man who studied it pronounced it properly.
How can I take seriously the scientific claims or any other statement about it made by those who don't even know how the word is pronounced?
Tom

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To the English-usage newsgroups I hope this isn't a FAQ ... I'm not a regular follower of this newsgroup. ... of those tormented souls who is always unhappy and wants everyone around her to be as unhappy as she is."

I have two questions (which at first I thought were related) that I was just thinking about. What about this one, from someone else's mouth of course, doesn't apply to me:
"I am a tormented soul who am always unhappy and want everyone around me to be as unhappy as I am." That's correct, isn't it?

What about: "Joe compared her with me, who am always worried about every little thing." This one seems the same logically but sounds a lot stranger.
Shouldn't this be: "She was one of those tormented souls who ARE always unhappy and WANT everyone around her to ... so common that it's starting to be accepted as correct? I don't think I like that idea.. Thanks! Best, Tom

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"I am a tormented soul who am always unhappy and want everyone around me to be as unhappy as I am." That's correct, isn't it?

No
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Nope. It's perfect as Auchincloss wrote it. The grammatical subject of the copula "is" is "who", a relative pronoun that refers to "one",

Eh? Then which tormented souls was she talking about? Tom's exactly right to object that "who" is plural, and any ... if the relative clause did modify "one," surely it should be in the past. "Is" doesn't make sense either way.

Right. Fowler covers this at Number (5). His first example sentence is "He is one of the best men that has/have ever lived". His conclusion is that in all such cases, use of a singular verb produces "nonsense". Though it is possibly a little unfair of him to say the "a moment's thought" would produce the right answer.

Don Aitken
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I heard a half hour show on the Antarctica in which even the "scientists" working on a project there pronounced ... scientific claims or any other statement about it made by those who don't even know how the word is pronounced?

Perhaps they are traditionalists: "Ar(c)tic" originally lacked its middle "c", borrowed from an Old French word so spelt and not direct from Latin or Greek. (I admit that NSOED isn't so confident about "Antar(c)tic")

Alan Jones
To the English-usage newsgroups I hope this isn't a FAQ ... I'm not a regular follower of this newsgroup. ... becoming so common that it's starting to be accepted as correct? I don't think I like that idea.. Thanks! Best,

It doesn't sound very wrong to me, but I would come down for the plural interpretation for these two reasons: "those tormented souls", and the present tense of "is" in the "who" clause. The word "those" expects expansion, to say just which tormented souls; for me, this forces connection of the "who" clause to "those tormented souls" rather than to "one". Also, since "she was" is in the past tense, the present tense "who is" forces the clause connection to the general case of "those tormented souls", not directly to her. If it were
'She was one of the tormented souls, who was always unhappy...' then it would be alright continuing with singular.
John
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