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What is often heard is

"Soy yo el que vine ayer a ... "

(I am the one who came yesterday to...) but I think that

"Soy yo el que vino ayer a ... "

is the correct sentence because the object that performs the action is 'el que vino' and not "yo", just that they end up being the same person (if you are not convinced rephrase in the following order, which means the same: "El que vino ayer a ..., soy yo.")

I thought that the first alternative was definitely wrong and the second right, until I read that, for instance, in French both analogous sentences are accepted.

Question: Are both correct in Spanish?

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Quien is the correct relative pronoun here because it refers to persons, while el que refers to objects and indeterminates. –  vorbote Nov 29 '12 at 18:47
3  
No, you're mistaken. Both forms are correct to refer people. –  Chewie Nov 29 '12 at 20:13
    
in spain, the second one sounds much better to me –  flow Dec 3 '12 at 13:57
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1 Answer

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Both sentences are correct. The first one is a more colloquial wording, and the second one is more formal. According to section 4.10 of the article Concordancia from the Diccionario Panhispánico de Dudas:

If the subject of the verb ser is a first or second person singular pronoun (yo, tú/vos), the verb of the relative clause can be either in the third person singular, in strict agreement with its subject, or in the first or second person singular, in agreement with the subject of the verb ser.

Source:

4.10 Concordancia verbal en oraciones copulativas

[...]

4.13. yo soy el que (o quien), tú eres o vos sos el que (o quien) + verbo. Se trata de oraciones copulativas enfáticas cuyo atributo es una oración de relativo sin antecedente expreso. Si el sujeto del verbo ser es un pronombre de primera o de segunda persona del singular (yo, tú/vos), el verbo de la oración de relativo puede ir, bien en tercera persona del singular, en concordancia estricta con su sujeto gramatical (el/la que o quien), opción mayoritaria en el habla culta: «Yo soy el que manda acá» (Soriano León [Arg. 1986]); bien en primera o segunda persona del singular, concordando con el sujeto del verbo ser, opción habitual en el habla coloquial y que expresa mayor implicación afectiva por parte del hablante: «Por primera vez en mi vida yo soy la que tengo el control» (Santiago Sueño [P. Rico 1996]). Si se invierte el orden y la oración de relativo antecede al verbo ser, es menos frecuente que el verbo aparezca en primera o segunda persona; así, es más normal decir El que manda soy yo que El que mando soy yo. Cuando el sujeto de ser es un pronombre de primera o segunda persona del plural (nosotros, vosotros), el verbo de la oración de relativo no va nunca en tercera persona, sino que la concordancia se establece siempre con el pronombre personal: «Nosotros somos los que mandamos» (Chase Pavo [C. Rica 1996]).

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