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  1. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Grammar Merriam-Webster's Unabridged ... whoever / whomever

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by dillseed, May 12, 2014.

    From Merriam-Webster's Unabridged Dictionary:

    1. <I go out to talk to whomever it is —Guatemala News>

    2. <he attacked whomever disagreed with him>

    Shouldn't 1 and 2 above technically be whoever—yes or no? I think I'm correct here on both counts. Do you?

    Reasons:
    (1) It is he; thus, use whoever.

    (2) He disagreed with him; hence, use whoever.

    Thank you. :)
     
  2. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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  3. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    No, it is correct as is. Whomever is in the objective case. It's not that the sentence uses He, rather if in the objective case you could replace whomever with he.

    Think along the lines of using me or I in a sentence.

    You use I in the subjective case, but you use me in the objective case.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    no, it's correct as is... to prove it, you need to delete the modifying part that comes after 'whoever'... not 'recast' [;)] the sentence to make that part determine the correct form...

    proof:
    I go out to talk to him/her.
    He attacked him/her.
     
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  5. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Because so many people use whoever/whomever incorrectly, it's only a matter of time before the incorrect usage becomes accepted usage. But I guess we have to follow the rules until that day comes. ;)
     
  6. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Based on The Blue Book of Grammar's rule below, shouldn't it be 'whoever'?

    To determine whether to use whoever or whomever, here is the rule:
    him + he = whoever
    him + him = whomever

    Examples:
    Give it to whoever/whomever asks for it first. Give it to him. He asks for it first. Therefore, Give it to whoever asks for it first.

    We will hire whoever/whomever you recommend.
    We will hire him. You recommend him.
    him + him = whomever

    We will hire whoever/whomever is most qualified.
    We will hire him.He is most qualified.
    him + he = whoever
     
  7. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Him + he = 'whoever'

    1. <I go out to talk to whomever it is —Guatemala News>
    I go out to talk to him.
    It is he.
    ****Him + he = 'whoever'

    2. <he attacked whomever disagreed with him>
    He attacked him.
    He disagreed with him.
    ****Him + he = 'whoever'
     
  8. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    I'm not 100% on the first example, because you have three nouns. We is the subject, you is the object. I think it would be whomever as well.

    The second example is definitely whomever. We is the subject noun, whomever is the object noun.

    That's how I look at it. However, some sentences can get tricky:

    For whom are you calling?

    Here, the subject and object are swapped in order.
     
  9. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Yes.

    For whom are you calling?

    I am calling for him, so whom is correct.

    But do you see my point with the others? Whoever is correct, at least to me, in every respect. It fits the Bluebook's rules.
     
  10. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I do see it, but I disagree with the Blue Book in this case. This is an oft-battled discussion in my little world of language nerds. The Blue Book is using a logic that the main clause shifts position and defers to a later clause when the clause boundary seems to be arguable:

    (We will hire whomever) is most qualified.
    We will hire (whoever is most qualified.)

    This argument is often "proven" by doing a little flip of the syntax:

    (Whoever is most qualified), we will hire.

    This argument feels satisfactory to a certain camp of linguists because it places the proposed subject where English loves to have it, at the head of the sentence. But you will notice the compulsory comma in that structure that is a red flag of a sentence out of normal order of operation.

    I belong to the camp that says whomever is the correct choice because the pronoun is directly modified by the transitive verb. What comes afterwards in description of that pronoun is subordinate, not ordinate, to the primary clause.
     
  11. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Thank you. In these cases I don't think anyone will discern the difference—or even care. :)
     
  12. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    My thought is that whoever is not the object of the verb/preposition, but it’s really whoever it is / whoever disagreed with him that’s the object (just as whoever told you that is the subject of thought, not whoever). Thus, I think that whoever is correct in both. Do you see my point? :)
     

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