1. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    whoever or whomever?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by dillseed, Apr 24, 2014.

    Which is correct in 1 and 2—whoever or whomever?

    1. Give the promotion to the most qualified candidate, whoever / whomever that may be.

    2. Give the the gift to anybody, whoever / whomever it is.

    Whoever = if you can substitute "he"
    Whomever = if you can substitute "him"

    Based on the trick above, I can't determine whether "whoever" or "whomever" is correct.

    You could break down the clause, but it goes both ways:

    In number 1, That may be him. (Use whomever.)
    He may be the one. (Use whoever.)

    In number 2, It is him. (Use whomever.)
    He may be the one who'll get the gift. (Use whoever.)

    Am I overthinking / overcomplicating these two sentences?

    Help!

    Thanks.
     
  2. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Lots about this issue on this site: http://grammar.about.com/od/alightersideofwriting/a/whoevergloss.htm

    The consensus of opinion within the article seems to be: when in doubt, use whoever—even when it might technically be incorrect! Whomever is such an awkward word.

    I certainly have no problem with whoever in both of your sentences. It just sounds right.
     
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  3. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    A better way to think of it is: if the reference noun is in the subjective case, it's "who." If it's in the objective case, it's "whom" and the same applies to whoever and whomever.

    "Who dropped the ball?"
    "The ball was dropped by whom?"

    I would not use the second sentence because it's passive, which generally (not always) creates a bad and dull sentence.

    "Whoever ran off with the ball, please return it."
    "I promise I won't report the responsible person, whomever it may be. Just return it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2014
  4. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Awesome.

    Thank you.
     
  5. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Who killed who?
    Who killed whom?

    I say 'whom' is correct in this one.

    Am I right?

    Thanks.
     
  6. James Joyce
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    James Joyce Member

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    whom is usually used if the answer you want is to be expressed as him/her.
    "whomever do you mean?" "Him."

    who is for he/she
    "who took that?" "she did."

    There may be other reasons to use it, but I believe that is one good way to tell.
    I believe that, really, you can just use who for everything.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    don't agonize over it... whichever you use, if the editor of the publication/publisher accepting your submission doesn't like it, it'll be changed... no one is going to reject your ms if you use what they consider to be the wrong choice...
     
  8. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Thank you.

    I emailed Chicago, and they said "Who killed whom" is correct (it's the equivalent of "Who killed him/her?").
     

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