1. John Carlo
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    John Carlo Active Member

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    whoever vs whomever

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by John Carlo, Sep 23, 2009.

    Okay, here's my sentence:

    "He gathered himself together to make sure he had a look of great calm and poise to whoever it might be."

    I want to say "whomever", but according to the rule I was reading, it goes: he + him = whoever, and him + him = whomever. Plus, Microsoft Word kept marking it off as incorrect during grammar and spell check.

    Any clarification would be much appreciated. The rules somewhat make sense to me, but I'm hoping someone can dumb it down for me.
     
  2. witch wyzwurd
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    witch wyzwurd Contributing Member

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    So, if you know the rule, what's your question?
     
  3. John Carlo
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    John Carlo Active Member

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    So are there no exceptions? I don't know why but "whoever" just doesn't sound right to me in my sentence. But if that's what it is, then that's what it is.
     
  4. witch wyzwurd
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    witch wyzwurd Contributing Member

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    I don't know of any other rule.

    For some reason, "whomever" always sounds better to me.
     
  5. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Why would you ever use "whomever"? If there is a legitimate difference, it's certainly not widely known or enforced, so stick to whoever. The only word close to "whomever" I've ever seen used is "whomsoever", which is obviously something different, and whenever it is used is deliberately archaic.
     
  6. Punctuate THIS!
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    Punctuate THIS! Member

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    I would relate "whomever" to questions of the past. "He gathered himself" is something that relates to the present.
     
  7. Mister Micawber
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    Mister Micawber Member

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    That's the first time I've heard that. Is that because 'whomever' sounds stilted and old-fashioned nowadays?

    Oh, and how does 'gathered' relate to the present?
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it's easy!... to test which it should be, just substitute 'him' or 'he' for the word...

    so, would you say:

    "He gathered himself together to make sure he had a look of great calm and poise to him.

    or:

    "He gathered himself together to make sure he had a look of great calm and poise to he."

    ...there can clearly be only one correct word...
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Whoever is the subject form of the pronoun, whomever is the object form. However, most modern usage allows whoever for the object form.
     
  10. witch wyzwurd
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    witch wyzwurd Contributing Member

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    Here's an example:

    I love whomever.

    (I love her and her).
     
  11. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    ^ Whoever works just as well in that example, and doesn't make you sound like you were born in 1770.
     
  12. witch wyzwurd
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    witch wyzwurd Contributing Member

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    I'm not concerned with what century it makes me sound like I'm from. It's the rule that matters. Using "whoever" doesn't follow the rule, so it's wrong.
     
  13. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    But the rule, if it did exist, has been rendered completely irrelevant by modern usage. Its not even a question. It has been made obsolete. Whoever works just as well in that example, or any other sentence, therefore whomever has fallen out of usage.
     
  14. Punctuate THIS!
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    Punctuate THIS! Member

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    If whomever is an antiquated notion then its meaning reflects upon the past. Its just like using an older style to gain historic value, even if its only for a specific instance.
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    some people still do use the 'correct' form, 'whomever' when called for, but it's no longer de rigueur due to common usage having blurred the line between the two and made 'whoever' more universally acceptable...
     

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