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He was the first person to develop a modern helicopter.

He was the first person who developed a modern helicopter.

He was the first person developing a modern helcopter.

Dears teachers,

Could you tell me which of the above sentences is not correct, and why not. They all look OK grammatically.

LCChang
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Comments  
the first two are OK

the third is incomplete, perhaps:

He was the first person developing a modern helicopter while we tried the same.
The first two are ok. The third is not feasible even with MH's addition.
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Nona The BritThe first two are ok. The third is not feasible even with MH's addition.
Sorry, but I just can't understand. I thought developing was just a present participle abrreviated from who developed in grammar aspect. I guess most of the learners would be as confused as I.

LCChang
He was the first person to develop a modern helicopter.

He was the first person developing a modern helcopter.

This goes back to the same question discussed many times before. When can we use infinitive and gerund (or present participle)? “To develop” vs. “developing” in the context presented, it can only accept the infinitive. Trying to force a gerund into this sentence does not work grammatically. Though, the meaning may still get across.
Goodman
He was the first person to develop a modern helicopter.

He was the first person developing a modern helcopter.

This goes back to the same question discussed many times before. When can we use infinitive and gerund (or present participle)? “To develop” vs. “developing” in the context presented, it can only accept the infinitive. Trying to force a gerund into this sentence does not work grammatically. Though, the meaning may still get across.

Emotion: tongue tied It's hard ...Dai-Lo.
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the first/last ... to ...is so idiomatic that it is difficult for me to accept any other way of saying it. Emotion: smile

He was the last to know.
I was the first to arrive.
The first man to set foot on the moon was Neil Armstrong.
Priestly was the first scientist to extract oxygen from water.
(Don't hold me to the truth of this one!)
The last student to leave the room was George.

The problem with first person who is that the who introduces a restrictive relative clause. The implication is then that there is either
a) a second/third/ ... person who (also developed the same thing), or
b) a non-person (monkey?) who (also developed the same thing).

Neither of these premises appeals to my sense of logic! Emotion: wink

Note how moving first helps:

He was the person who developed X first.

CJ
You GOOOOOOOD, CJ. Thanks.

LCChang
I guess the rule of thumb is that when you have a construct with “someone is the first” the form should be likely infinitive.

However, nothing is absolute and only the context will determine the proper form of the verb.

e.g. My brother was the first in our family to achieve a Ph D degree. Not “achieving”.



Company XYZ was the first among many start-ups developing the .03 micron process when I first joined the company.

Notice how “develop” is used as a present participle with an adverbial clause here. In this context, it’s fine.

But not in the 1st one. Hope this add a little more clarity to you question.
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