Quién or quiénes de vosotros ( o ustedes)?
I was reading another thread where the author happened to use the phrase "¿Quién de vosotros" ha leído...? I suppose it was the use of vosotros that caught my eye since I'm not that familiar with it, but it got me thinking about whether the "who" should be quien or quiénes? Singular or plural? Who among you = which one among you or those (ones) among you?
I tried relating it to English, but it isn't an obvious comparison since "who" in English can be either singular or plural.
I am the one who has...
We are the ones who have...
Spanish, on the other hand, has a singular (quien) and a plural (quienes) form so which is used, or is it the speakers option depending on whether he intends it to be plural or singular?
Do I say ?
¿Quién de vosotros...? When I want to say "which one of you?"
¿Quiénes de vosotros...? When I want to say "which ones of you?" (who among you?) [ Asking a large crowd and expecting a group of responses]
or is the singular form always asked and a singular or plural answer accepted?
And just to verify it: it would be ¿Quién...ha leído? o ¿Quiénes...han leído? (making no difference whether it was de vosotros or de ustedes). Correct?
Anyway, I have to say that it is better to use:
There are some types of sentences in which "¿quién de vosotros? o ¿quiénes de vosotros? does not sound good.
For example: ¿quién de vosotros es el culpable? (it is correct).
¿quiénes de vosotros soís los culpables? sounds awful.
Como regla general,,el plural se usa poca con ese tipo de preguntas.
¿Quién es el culpable de ese desorden?
I could ask this in my class knowing that it won't be only one student who has made all the mess.
Esto es teoría es correcto:
¿Quién de vosotros...? When I want to say "which one of you?"
¿Quiénes de vosotros...? When I want to say "which ones of you?"
Pero solo en teoría ya que sería mucho más común hacer la primera pregunta, incluso si luego salen tres que lo han leído.
"Who (among you) have read this book?" is unobjectionable on grammatical grounds (and implies the expectation that more than one will have read it). However there are complicating psychological considerations, as well as the pressures of "common usage".
Even if you expect that more than one person has read the book, it is unlikely that you expect them to answer in chorus, "We have." More probably you expect them to individually (possibly simultaneously) "I have." Thus one might argue that you are soliciting individual answers, even though you expect more than one individual to respond.
The situation is further complicated when one considers the influence of the PC (gender) police. In the example sentence they have no excuse to meddle but for the similar sentence "Who has done his homework?" They will rise up in protest and insist on an alternative formulation (one of the "acceptable" alternatives being "their homework"). However, since such people often have only a tenuous grasp of grammar and their own language, they will usually accept either "Who have done their homework?" or "Who has done their homework?" (after all their agenda concerns perceived gender-based slights rather than serious language reform). To paraphrase Henry Higgins (My Fair Lady), "They don't actually care what you say, so long as you don't use "his"/"him".
As if this weren't enough, you have the long-term trend of English away from being an inflected language, toward being synthetic. One of the things that will have to go, eventually, is the singular/plural grammatical distinctions. Chinese (and to a slightly lesser extent, Japanese) manage quite well without them. Why not we?
¿Quién de vosotros ha leído este libro?.- (It is possible to be waiting the answer to be plural or singular).
¿Quiénes de vosotros habéis leído este libro?- Then it is possible the speaker thinks there are several people. For example, if he is sure that there are several people.
Anyway, I think you can ask one or the other. And you could receive the same answer.
Realise that you are supposed not to know the answer.
The only thing I know about the English usage is that whether the verb after who is singular or plural depends on the antecedent for who. If it refers to plural noun/pronoun, then who takes a plural verb.
For a question such as the one you have posed, however, there is no antecedent, but the pronoun still has a referent which will follow. In the case of the question of "who has read a certain book," it is necessary to view the question as directed at each individual within a group because it is unknown whether the "who" will refer to one or multiple people.
After reflecting on this, it seems possible to phrase it in such a way as to imply that your answer requires more than a single response (a plural referent). When asking about influential people in your life, there seems to be an implicit demand for a list of more than one person, but with a question like, "Who has read this book?" it is not possible to make this same implicit demand as the number of people could be anywhere from zero to the total number of people to whom the question is directed.
I would think then that the flexibility in singular versus plural usage probably depends on whether this implied demand (for one or more responses, i.e. a plural referent) can be made or not.
So in Spanish I shouldn't expect to run across ¿Quiénes de vosotros or ustedes? When I googled I saw some of quiénes de vosotros , but mostly quién de ustedes and couldn't understand the difference.
Again...just shooting from the hip here. You might want to await a native speaker for a more definitive answer.
In your original sentence, I think that the question only lends itself to a singular verb form (reasoning above), but I think that in both English and Spanish both the plural and singular would be possible.
• Who have been the most influential people in your life
• ¿Quiénes han sido las personas más influyentes de su vida?
• Who has been the most influential person in your life
• ¿Quién ha sido la persona más influyente de su vida?
For this type of question, you can reasonably predict/expect an answer that is either singular or plural...Does this make sense?
So you're saying that "Who among you have read this book?" is incorrect in English?
To be honest, I am not completely sure...On the surface, I would think that it would be incorrect as seen by the effect of removing the phrase "among you"
Who have read this book?
Who has read this book?
The former does not appear to be a properly worded English sentence. It seems that if you are asking the question then you do not have any idea if you will receive one or more responses (you can't really know if there will be a group answer prior to asking the question), so the question must be seen as directed to each individual separately and does not lend itself to a plural verb form. The result of such a question may be that you receive response that takes either a singular or plural verb form:
I have read it. [singular]
He has read it. [singular]
We have both read it. [plural]
Everybody has read it [singular]
Most of us have read it [plural]
*Nobody has read it [singular]
Does this make sense? What do you think?
When I want to say "which ones of you?" (who among you?) [ Asking a large crowd and expecting a group of responses
Correct me if I am wrong, but in English wouldn't each of these statements lend itself to a singular verb form:
Which of you has read this book? (Possible to expect a single or multiple respondents)
Who among you has read this book? (Possible to expect a single or multiple respondents)
Who has read this book? (Possible to expect a single or multiple respondents)
And in Spanish...
¿Quién de vosotros ha leído este libro? (Possible to expect a single or multiple respondents)
¿Quién ha leído este libro? (Possible to expect a single or multiple respondents)
I think you got it right.
In this case the speaker chooses quién o quiénes based on his assumptions (I guess one of you has read th book / I guess a few of you have read the book.)
Anyway, sometimes you ask quién and discover that most of them have read the book .