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"I've heard of a few cases WHERE patients have made a full recovery even after being clinically dead for well over ten minutes."

Does English grammar allow us to use 'THAT' instead of 'WHERE'? Would it be considered less formal?

Thanks.
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Comments  (Page 2) 
Thanks, Abbie. I undersand that. Then let me turn the direction of my question around. What would be the concept behind your decision to choose 'WHERE' or 'in WHICH' when you connect two sentences such as "I've heard of a few cases" and "patients have made a full recovery even after being clinically dead for well over ten minutes"?
Hi Infinity,

Strictly speaking, "where" is used to introduce relative clauses after a noun referring to place

e.g. "Do you know a place where I can get coffee?"

People do say "I've heard of a few cases where patients have made a full recovery ...", but "in which" would be the correct construct.
"I've heard of a few cases in which patients have made a full recovery ..."


In the sentence above, "in which" is being used as a relative pronoun to refer to the whole clause "I've heard of a few cases ... "
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Thanks Abbie.
Hope it helped.
All comments are truly helpful. Thanks again to all. However, I am a bit confused with Abbie's comment about 'in which', saying it rather refers to the whole sentence. I thought 'in which' can be used as 'where' without changing any meaning on the case above.

So, "patients have recovered in a few cases ..." doesn't stand when using 'in which'. Is that what you are saying, Abbie?
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it is an antecedent which determines when to use an appositive-that


Yes. With the lexical item "case" used with an appositive, the deletion of the definite article "the" and the clause complementizer "that" is obligatory. "case" is always the object of the preposition "in" in these structures.

At least I can't think of counterexamples at the moment. Maybe others will know of some.

... in [the] case [that] we are late.
... in [the] case [that] there is a fire.
... in [the] case [that] they don't bring enough chairs.

([...] indicates obligatory deletion.)

It appears that if "the" is not deleted, "where" substitutes for "that": "in the case where we are late", etc.

The following items can take appositive "that", however: fact, possibility, probability, decision, report, desire, exception, proviso, etc.
"situation" cannot take appositive "that": *the situation that he is tired, *the situation that nobody shows up at the party.

CJ
Thanks, CalfJim.
But, how about
"He reported a few cases that several monkeys had attacked infants."
In this case, aren't 'a few cases' and 'that' in the appositive relation?

Or do we have to say, "He reported a few cases in which several monkeys ..."?
Hi infinity,

I think I said
In the sentence above, "in which" is being used as a relative pronoun to refer to the whole clause "I've heard of a few cases ... "


Here we have one of those En. words which has a number of different meanings.

As I read it,
patients have recovered in a few cases
is using "case" in its meaning as "instance", and in particular of disease or injury"

"I have heard of a few instances in which ..."

I think Jim is using "in case" in its sense of "as a precaution"

"We'll take an umbrella in case it rains"
"patients have recovered in a few cases ..." doesn't stand when using 'in which'. Is that what you are saying, Abbie?


I'm a bit confused here, infinity I can't recall saying anything like this! Can I refer you back to my previous response?

Re: That or where?/ where & which
Posted: 04-28-2005 01:06 PM
Hi Infinity,

Strictly speaking, "where" is used to introduce relative clauses after a noun referring to place

e.g. "Do you know a place where I can get coffee?"

People do say "I've heard of a few cases where patients have made a full recovery ...", but "in which" would be the correct construct.

"I've heard of a few cases in which patients have made a full recovery ..."

In the sentence above, "in which" is being used as a relative pronoun to refer to the whole clause "I've heard of a few cases ... "


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He reported a few cases that several monkeys had attacked infants.


All in all, I find this a disconcerting sentence, from the viewpoint of grammar as well as of content!

My judgment is that it is ungrammatical. Having said that, my guess is that if I ran across the sentence in the middle of an interesting article I would fly by it without blinking. It is, after all, understandable. Yet, on closer examination, I'd have to say that it's wrong. It should be one of the following:

He reported that in a few cases several monkeys had attacked infants.
He reported a few cases [in which / where] several monkeys had attacked infants.

"in which" is a little "more correct"!!!

By the way, "which" is the relative pronoun. Its antecedent is "cases":

He reported a few cases. In those cases several monkeys had attacked infants.

CJ
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