1. sdunks
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    sdunks Member

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    Who or whom?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by sdunks, Jun 7, 2015.

    My brain doesn't seem to be functioning today... all assistance is fully appreciated.

    "She was outshone only by her teammate, who(m) struck every target with ease..."

    Is this 'who' or 'whom'?
     
  2. scrub puller
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    scrub puller New Member

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    Yair . . .

    sdunks . "Who"

    Cheers.


     
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  3. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've checked the various online guides for figuring out the 'who vs whom' conundrum, and as always they make no sense and flatly refuse to gel in my head.

    Which is the correct one here, and why?

    'John is separated from his wife and two teenage sons, all of who blame him for the split.'

    'John is separated from his wife and two teenage sons, all of whom blame him for the split.'
     
  4. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    "all of whom".

    I always try rephrasing sentences like these to make the difference clearer:

    John is separated from his wife and two teenage sons. All of they blame him for the split.

    John is separated from his wife and two teenage sons. All of them blame him for the split.

    "all of them" is valid, just like "all of whom".
     
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  5. jakeybum
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    jakeybum Member

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    Absolutely correct.
     
  6. The Mad Regent
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    The Mad Regent Contributing Member

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    Though I'm not one-hundred percent sure about this, but 'who' and 'whom' might be based on chronological or regional properties. I know that in the UK, 'whilst' is still quite commonplace compared to 'while,' which is more favoured in the US. There is also towards and toward.

    Whom I feel is similar to whilst in respect that it's probably more favoured in Britain, especially in prose written a century ago; however, saying this, I feel a sentence can reflect the better use of either version, no matter which region. I sometimes use who or whom, or whilst over while, simply from a coherency (flow) perspective.

    "She was outshone only by her teammate, who(m) struck every target with ease..." In this sentence I would definitely favour 'who.'
     
  7. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    That is right. "whom" would be grammatically invalid.

    "... who struck every target with ease." = "She struck every target with ease."
    "... whom struck every target with ease." = "Her struck every target with ease."
     
  8. The Mad Regent
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    The Mad Regent Contributing Member

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    Yeah, it seems grammatically correct, though, I'm not sure if I see it as 'she' and 'her.' It's a very peculiar word, whom, and from what my slow 4 a.m. brain can fathom is that it usually relates to those that belong to a type or group. However, I have realised that who can replace whom and still work, but not the other way around.

    Anyway, it's not really important. If it flows out of you then ninety-nine percent of the time it's the right choice.
     
  9. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    "who" and "whom" have specific meanings and there are specific grammatical rules about them. One word is not replaced with the other just because it flows better.

    "who" refers to the subject of a dependent clause and "whom" refers to the object of a dependent clause.
     
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  10. SwampDog
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    SwampDog Contributing Member

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    A good start - does it even sound correct (whom)? Absolutely not. Whom is the dative case - e.g. to whom, from whom.

    Who won? To whom should I present the medal? And if a pronoun answer would be him/her/them, then use whom. Whom should we visit? Who said that? (HE did - not him).

    Him/her/them/to/from = whom.
     
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  11. mad_hatter
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    mad_hatter Active Member

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    This is great. I use 'whom' quite a lot, never knowing exactly why. I know it's right, but I never really understood exactly why it was right. Now I get it.

    Cheers.
     
  12. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't.

    'Dependent clause', 'Dative' ??

    Does no one speak English round 'ere?

    Joking aside, let me see if I have daemon's explanation correct. Are you saying that if I simply replace 'who' and 'whom' with 'he' and 'his' or 'they' and 'them' respectively, it will highlight the correct one?
     
  13. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Almost.

    What I did was I separated the sentence into two sentences and then I replaced the pronoun. Slightly different example:

    "John is separated from his wife, who blames him for the split."

    Separate it:

    "John is separated from his wife. Who blames him for the split."

    Change the relative pronoun "who" into the personal pronoun with the same case and number ("she"):

    "John is separated from his wife. She blames him for the split."

    Here is a similar example:

    "Let me introduce you to some people whom I met today."
    "Let me introduce you to some people. Whom I met today."
    "Let me introduce you to some people. I met whom today."
    Change the relative pronoun "whom" into the personal pronoun with the same case and number ("them"):
    "Let me introduce you to some people. I met them today."

    vs.

    "Let me introduce you to some people who I met today."
    "Let me introduce you to some people. Who I met today."
    "Let me introduce you to some people. I met who today."
    Change the relative pronoun "who" into the personal pronoun with the same case and number ("they"):
    "Let me introduce you to some people. I met they today."
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2015
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  14. ladybird
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    ladybird Contributing Member

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    @sdunks I've also had a mental block when it comes to using who and whom! Thanks for asking the question. I've collected daemon's examples ready to print and file for reference. Thanks daemon!

     
  15. lustrousonion
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  16. jannert
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    Here is a simple quiz to help the situation. Check each answer, and it will say WHY the answer is correct or incorrect. If you want further information, just click the link at the bottom of the quiz page.

    http://www.bristol.ac.uk/arts/exercises/grammar/grammar_tutorial/page_61.htm

    One little tip: always use whom after a preposition. To whom, from whom, with whom, about whom, etc. This doesn't cover every usage of 'whom', but is always correct after a preposition, apparently.

    For a staggeringly huge list of prepositions (lots more than we were made to memorise in grade school, for sure) check out the Wikepedia site:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_English_prepositions
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2015
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  17. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    So,

    'he / she / them' = 'who'

    And,

    'Him / her / those' = 'whom'

    ??
     
  18. The Mad Regent
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    The Mad Regent Contributing Member

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    I'm sure that's true to a degree, but it sounds a lot like exaggerated academic bullshit to me, and I'm sure there is more to it than bounding it in a simple grammatical rule.

    Edit: Who won? To whom should I present the medal?

    These questions refer to what I said in an earlier post about 'whom' being associated more towards a group or a type. Who won? Is a question asking 'which individual won,' when, To whom should I present the medal? Is a question asking 'out of this group, who gets the medal?'

    When using whom you'll usually relating that individual with others in some way. Though this isn't the 'grammatical' terms of 'whom,' I think it's more important to understand when and why to use it because, like I originally said, who can always replace whom, but whom can't always replace who making it a bit of an oddity.

    Edit again: I've also just realised that 'whom' doesn't really work when followed up directly by a verb, so that also supports the idea that 'whom' associates the individual with others/groups/types.

    Who smokes ...
    Whom smokes ...
    Whom is a smoker ...
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2015
  19. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    So it would be 'Whom are you reading at the moment?' not 'Who are you reading at the moment?' because the answer would be 'I am reading HIM.' and not 'I am reading HE.' ?
     
  20. Shadowfax
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    Yes.

    No.

    "Whom" isn't associated with "a group".

    Nor can "Who" ALWAYS replace "Whom".

    "Whom" is related to the object of the sentence. In @OurJud 's post above, "Whom(relates to the object) are (verb relating to the subject) you (subject) reading (object)?

    Going back to the medal ceremony...
    To whom (out of all of the group) should I(subject) present (verb relating to the subject) the medal?
    Who (out of all of the group) won (verb relating to the subject) the medal?

    To be honest, @daemon put it much more clearly and usefully above.
     
  21. The Mad Regent
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    To whom (out of all of the group) should I(subject) present (verb relating to the subject) the medal?
    Who (out of all of the group) won (verb relating to the subject) the medal?

    No, this isn't right.

    Who is directing towards an individual, when whom is referring to the group. You're still asking for someone to be accredited with the medal, but they go about the same question in two different ways, and should be used in two different contexts.

    I told you, who and whom is not as simple as lumping it into a black and white grammatical category.
     
  22. rainy_summerday
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    I feel like I should really not reply to this :) But from what I remember from grammar class, whom is only used for an object referring to a person. Mostly it is used for indirect objects, direct object usage has became scarce and is even more archaic. Whom is more sophisticated than using who in these cases, though who is nowadays accepted as well.

    To whom (indirect object) should (modal verb) I (subject) present (full verb) the medal? (direct object)
    In this case, you have the medal, which is the direct object. Something is done to it by the subject - it is being presented.

    Who (Equivalent to the subject) won (full verb - predicate) the medal (direct object)?
    In this sentence, there is no indirect object, therefore no whom.


    I find it easier, though, to just think about which case I would use if I translated the sentence back into German, and usually if I'd use dative, then it's whom. That's because the concept of dative is very close to the rules for whom. Not in all cases, but maybe this helps?
     
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  23. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    What you've done here is highlight the problem addressed at grammerbook.com:
    There you go. Clear as mud.
     
  24. jakeybum
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    I recently wrote to grammarbook, and they replied to this query:

    Give the job to the most-qualified candidate, whoever/whomever that may be.

    They said "whoever" is correct because if you use the "whoever/whomever" trick, you'll get this:

    Isolate the "whoever/whomever" clause.

    It may be him. (Wrong)
    It may be he. (Correct)

    Because "he" is the most-qualified candidate, not "him" is the most-qualified candidate. Thus, "whoever" is unequivocally correct here.

    Makes total sense.
     
  25. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    I hope that's sarcasm.
     

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