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WHOM...WHEN? Options
CARRILLO
Posted: Tuesday, September 29, 2009 9:13:52 AM
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Grammar question,



who, whom,

when is it used each one?

and ... can whose be applied to things?

i.e: the car, whose wheels.......
valenarwen
Posted: Tuesday, September 29, 2009 9:38:58 AM
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Joined: 4/30/2009
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Location: Uruguay
CARRILLO wrote:
can whose be applied to things?

i.e: the car, whose wheels.......


According to TFD:
It has sometimes been claimed that whose is properly used only as the possessive form of who and thus should be restricted to animate antecedents, as in a man whose power has greatly eroded. But there is extensive literary precedent for the use of whose with inanimate antecedents, as in The play, whose style is rigidly formal, is typical of the period. In an earlier survey this example was acceptable to a large majority of the Usage Panel. Those who avoid this usage employ of which: The play, the style of which is rigidly formal, is typical of the period. But as this example demonstrates, substituting of which may produce a stilted sentence.
Jazzy
Posted: Tuesday, September 29, 2009 11:01:51 AM
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This is my trick, but remember that there are exceptions to almost EVERYTHING in the English language, but for the most part, when deciding between who and whom, look at the word that directly follows the dreaded “w” word:

who USUALLY is followed by verb
whom USUALLY is followed by a noun

I remember them by associating the m and the n together like they are in the alphabet!
Drew
Posted: Tuesday, September 29, 2009 11:46:19 AM
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CARRILLO wrote:
Grammar question,



who, whom,

when is it used each one?


"Who" refers to a subject, or the doer of an action, as in "Who forgot to close the door?"

"Whom" refers to an object, or the receiver of an action, as in "To whom it may concern..."

When deciding whether to use "who" or "whom," I usually ask myself whether the person or thing in question is the doer or the receiver of an action.

I hope that helps.
RuthP
Posted: Tuesday, September 29, 2009 12:06:08 PM

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As Drew said, "who" is the subject of a sentence, "whom" the object. They work the same as "he" and "him."

He hit Jack. ("He" is the subject of the sentence.)
Who hit Jack? ("Who" is the subject of the sentence.)

Jack hit him.
Jack hit whom? or Whom did Jack hit? ("Whom" is the object.)

Drew, in your "To whom it may concern . . ." example, "whom" is the object of the preposition "to." You can also see this in:

Jack was hit by whom? In this case, Jack is the subject and "whom" is the object of the preposition "by."

Perhaps it's clearer as:
He was hit by whom?

I hope this helps


Christine
Posted: Tuesday, September 29, 2009 12:51:11 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/3/2009
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Neurons: 15,842


and ... can whose be applied to things?

i.e: the car, whose wheels.......[/quote]

"Usage Note: It has sometimes been claimed that whose is properly used only as the possessive form of who and thus should be restricted to animate antecedents, as in a man whose power has greatly eroded. But there is extensive literary precedent for the use of whose with inanimate antecedents, as in The play, whose style is rigidly formal, is typical of the period. "
Anthony57
Posted: Tuesday, September 29, 2009 1:18:06 PM
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Location: Chicago, USA
Interesting how we all have a little different view on these three words. I was taught to use the word whom if the response was either him or her.

To whom it may concern: - It concerns him.
With whom are you going to the dance with? – I am going with her.

Who left the milk on the counter? – Anthony.
Who are you taking to the dance? – Anne.


As far as the word whose, I was taught to use whose when referring to a person and the word that for everything else.

As with everything else, these rules have their “however” as well.
grammargeek
Posted: Tuesday, September 29, 2009 2:44:39 PM
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I must agree with Drew, RuthP, and Anthony57 here. In fact, I often use the same trick Anthony57 uses if I have a question about whether to use who or whom.
paragorillabear
Posted: Tuesday, September 29, 2009 5:01:13 PM
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Anthony,

your sentence

Quote:
With whom are you going to the dance with?


has one too many instances of "with"

and this sentence

Quote:
Who are you taking to the dance?


is incorrect, since "whom" should be used here.

I wholeheartedly agree with Jazzy's shortcut rule about looking at the word that comes after the "who" or "whom" -- i have found that this shortcut works about 90% of the time, but keep in mind that you must ignore helping verbs, since, in questions, the helping verb is transposed, placed in front of the subject.

Whom did you vote for?

Ignore the helping verb "did" and the shortcut still works.

However, I must take slight issue with Ruth, who points out the preposition preceding "whom" in the expression "to whom it may concern."
Even though she is correct in her assessment, it is unwise to look before the "who" or "whom" when making your choice. Look after, as Jazzy suggests.

Perhaps the best technique is simply to answer the question (if your "who" or "whom" is interrogative):

(Who, Whom) will you be sending those flowers to?
I will be sending them to HER.


Since the answer is an objective pronoun, the objective pronoun "whom" is the correct choice.

Of course, if your "who" or "whom" is not interrogative but is relative, you must first extract the clause from the sentence, then convert it into a question before answering it.

Jenny is the girl (who, whom) everyone thinks will win the competition.
--(who, whom) everyone thinks will win the competition.--
(Who, Whom) does everyone think will win the competition?
Everyone thinks SHE will win the competition.


Thus, the correct pronoun is "who."

Note that this type of sentence, with the interrupter "everyone thinks," is one of the exceptions to Jazzy's Shortcut.


Finally, if anyone disputes my "who" or "whom" MAD SKILLZ or disagrees with my assessment of Jazzy's and Ruth's words of advice, feel free to debate the following sentence:

The committee has decided to award the prize to (whoever, whomever) writes the best essay.
CARRILLO
Posted: Wednesday, September 30, 2009 9:59:41 AM
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Joined: 9/15/2009
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Location: Spain
Thanks!!!!
so things can´t have possessions! interesting....

Based on the noun/verb rule, my bet is on:

The committee has decided to award the prize to whoever writes the best essay.
Drew
Posted: Wednesday, September 30, 2009 12:34:12 PM
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CARRILLO wrote:
Thanks!!!!
so things can´t have possessions! interesting....

Based on the noun/verb rule, my bet is on:

The committee has decided to award the prize to whoever writes the best essay.


Actually, you'll want to be careful with examples like this one, Carrillo. I can understand why you might want to write the sentence this way. However, the subject of this sentence is "the committee" and the object is actually "whomever writes the best essay." The key word is the preposition "to," which suggests the word that follows is most likely the receiver of an action.

I hope I haven't confused you even more. If anyone else has a better way to explain, I invite you to do so.
CARRILLO
Posted: Wednesday, September 30, 2009 12:47:49 PM
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Location: Spain
Drew,
it is great, there is not better way to learn than trial and error
I won´t forget this one!
paragorillabear
Posted: Wednesday, September 30, 2009 2:58:26 PM
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Joined: 9/16/2009
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Ah, so somebody fell into my trap...

Carrillo, do not listen to Drew.

Drew, go back and review what I wrote:
To wit, it is better to look after the "who" or "whom" instead of before.

The committee has decided to award the prize to (whoever, whomever) writes the best essay.

Drew, you state that "committee" is the subject of the sentence -- true -- but imply that there cannot be more than one subject in a sentence -- false. (In fact, this preceding sentence has three subjects.)

Many sentences are composed of more than one clause (a structure that contains a subject-verb "combo"). Since "who" and "whom" are often used to begin certain clauses, confusion can arise.

The committee has decided to award the prize to (whoever, whomever) writes the best essay.

(whoever, whomever) writes the best essay

is a clause, a dependent clause (it cannot be a sentence on its own) -- in fact, it is, more specifically, a noun clause

...which brings us to Drew's assertion that "The key word is the preposition "to," which suggests the word that follows is most likely the receiver of an action."

The fact of the matter is that, yes, "to" is a preposition, but, no, the word that follows a preposition is not necessarily the receiver of an action, and, more importantly, in this case, the ENTIRE NOUN CLAUSE that follows is the OBJECT of the preposition, and what we really need to be concerned with is the clause itself:


(whoever, whomever) writes the best essay

Clearly, "whoever" is the subject of this clause.

Drew
Posted: Thursday, October 1, 2009 2:18:27 PM
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Joined: 3/17/2009
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paragorillabear wrote:
Ah, so somebody fell into my trap...

Carrillo, do not listen to Drew.

Drew, go back and review what I wrote:
To wit, it is better to look after the "who" or "whom" instead of before.

The committee has decided to award the prize to (whoever, whomever) writes the best essay.

Drew, you state that "committee" is the subject of the sentence -- true -- but imply that there cannot be more than one subject in a sentence -- false. (In fact, this preceding sentence has three subjects.)

Many sentences are composed of more than one clause (a structure that contains a subject-verb "combo"). Since "who" and "whom" are often used to begin certain clauses, confusion can arise.

The committee has decided to award the prize to (whoever, whomever) writes the best essay.

(whoever, whomever) writes the best essay

is a clause, a dependent clause (it cannot be a sentence on its own) -- in fact, it is, more specifically, a noun clause

...which brings us to Drew's assertion that "The key word is the preposition "to," which suggests the word that follows is most likely the receiver of an action."

The fact of the matter is that, yes, "to" is a preposition, but, no, the word that follows a preposition is not necessarily the receiver of an action, and, more importantly, in this case, the ENTIRE NOUN CLAUSE that follows is the OBJECT of the preposition, and what we really need to be concerned with is the clause itself:


(whoever, whomever) writes the best essay

Clearly, "whoever" is the subject of this clause.



I've never been taught that method, but I will concede this one to paragorillabear. I need to have a word with my 6th grade English teacher about this. d'oh!
CARRILLO
Posted: Friday, October 2, 2009 5:26:13 AM
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Joined: 9/15/2009
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Location: Spain
So.....I was right?

unbelievable!


blessed intuition!!!
Minipisikil
Posted: Friday, October 2, 2009 10:47:35 AM
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As far as I'm concerned, “whom” is a word that was invented to make everyone sound like a butler. -Calvin Trillin
hairball
Posted: Sunday, October 25, 2009 5:35:28 PM
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I have a question about this and can't quite figure out how to apply any of the above rules to it. Which is correct:

He knew who they were.
He knew whom they were.

I'm inclined to think "whom" because you could restate the last part of the sentence as "they were whom." But I'm not sure.
member
Posted: Sunday, October 25, 2009 9:22:37 PM
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Joined: 5/23/2009
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hairball wrote:
I have a question about this and can't quite figure out how to apply any of the above rules to it. Which is correct:

He knew who they were.
He knew whom they were.

I'm inclined to think "whom" because you could restate the last part of the sentence as "they were whom." But I'm not sure.


I think the 1st sentence is correct. the 2nd doesn't sound right to my ears.
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