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DavidLearn
Posted: Sunday, June 15, 2014 6:10:04 AM

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Hello teachers,
I know that the question is correct for the underlined and bold word in the answer.
What did the chief of police want at all the airports?
She wanted policemen at all the airports.

Would it be natural for the same answer to ask, 'Whom did she want at all the airports?'.
This one is wrong, isn't it? 'Who did she want at all the airports?'.

Thanks.
Romany
Posted: Sunday, June 15, 2014 6:21:12 AM
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Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom
David,

"Whom did she want...." is correct, yes. I personally would say it that way. However, as to being natural? Well for some reason a lot of people aren't comfortable with using 'whom' - either because they aren't sure when to use it, or because they think it sounds "posh" - so for those people saying 'who' would be more natural.

Btw, in English we don't use the word 'Policeman/men' any longer.(Unless we are referring to a particular police officer whom we know to be male.) We use either just 'Police' or 'Police Officer'. This is because the police force is made up of both men AND women.
DavidLearn
Posted: Sunday, June 15, 2014 6:45:14 AM

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Romany wrote:
David,

"Whom did she want...." is correct, yes. I personally would say it that way. However, as to being natural? Well for some reason a lot of people aren't comfortable with using 'whom' - either because they aren't sure when to use it, or because they think it sounds "posh" - so for those people saying 'who' would be more natural.

Btw, in English we don't use the word 'Policeman/men' any longer.(Unless we are referring to a particular police officer whom we know to be male.) We use either just 'Police' or 'Police Officer'. This is because the police force is made up of both men AND women.


Hello Romany,
Thank you for your help and comments. Though the sentence 'She wanted policemen at all the airports.', is from a book.Anxious

DL
shahidmost
Posted: Sunday, June 15, 2014 7:27:05 AM

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Location: Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
**
What did the chief of police want at all the airports?
She wanted policemen at all the airports.

The answer does not correspond with the question for the reason that it is what the replacement of which needs to be found for an answer. A better answer therefore would be:

She wanted police at all the airports.
[what => police]
She wanted [significant] police presence at all the airports.

Whom did she want at all the airports? [?]
Who did she want at all the airports? [?]

Who did she want at all the airports?
She wanted policemen at all the airports, whom she ordered to be there.
[who => policemen => whom]

According to the rules of formal grammar, who should be used in the subject position in a sentence, while whom should be used in the object position, and also after a preposition. For example:

Who made this decision? [here, who is the subject of the sentence]
Whom do you think we should support? [here, whom is the object of support]
To whom do you wish to speak? [here, whom is following the preposition to]

Some people do still follow these rules but there are many more who never use whom at all. Common practice in current English is to use who in all contexts, i.e.:

Who do you think we should support?
Who do you wish to speak to?

(Oxford Dictionaries)

**
moniquester
Posted: Sunday, June 15, 2014 7:29:16 AM

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Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Would it be natural for the same answer to ask, 'Whom did she want at all the airports?'.
This one is wrong, isn't it? 'Who did she want at all the airports?'.

Yes, the first one "whom" is correct.
However, the second one, "who"--although incorrect grammatically, is becoming more and more colloquially acceptable in speech. It is becoming so acceptable, in fact, that "whom" is considered prudish in day-to-day use!

Ah, the devolution of the language!!!d'oh!
zielonosiwy
Posted: Sunday, June 15, 2014 7:30:20 AM
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@Romany

With all due respect to your magnificent knowledge, the word "policeman" is still used in English. I agree that this term may be found sexist but we cannot disregard the culture of language. Let the users decide themselves if they want to have this meaning or make it fall into oblivion. One person cannot say if a word is to be used or not.
Dinesh Misra
Posted: Sunday, June 15, 2014 7:58:46 AM

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Location: Panchkula, Haryana, India
The Police Chief wanted someone or some action or steps taken at all airports. This must be seen as some new step in response to some new requirement- by way of better control and command, in running the airports more efficiently, from the policing aspect or point of view.
Therefore, the action she wanted taken at all the airports was to post policemen there. For this specific action, the question-"What did the chief of police want at all the airports?" is absolutely appropriate, and, thus, correct.
Romany
Posted: Sunday, June 15, 2014 10:51:10 AM
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Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom
Zielonosiwy -

I agree that many people in England might still use the word.

However, with respect, this does not make it correct. (A lot of people in England also say 'I was sat...')

And I say that not as 'just one person' but as an Academic - part of whose job it is to educate people in correct language usage. And who, in turn, would have lost marks if she had handed in a paper with words that have been deemed sexist and thus unacceptable. And, yeah, 'policeMAN' has been deemed to go the way of 'chairman' in correct English.

I guess this is just another example of the changing nature of words: this ability is the reason that the English language that has lasted against all odds, after all.
zielonosiwy
Posted: Sunday, June 15, 2014 11:25:02 AM
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First of all, the analogy with the wrong form "I was at" is completely off the mark. We are discussing a normally formed word that has been in use for a long time, check some corpora.

I myself am aware of all that and I use the word 'police officer' BUT the word "policeman" is absolutely correct. It can be found in dictionaries, and what's more important, many people still use it.
In Academic papers it's also the style that is important and thus the word may not fit in. It's better to educate than to forbid, neither you nor I have the power to deem the word incorrect just because it's "not gender-neutral" and this is what every linguist will tell you. You want to take it out from dictionaries? what will be next? vulgarisms? You can't do that.
The jury is still out, it's way too early, and it takes time for people to realise what linguistic world view it brings and that this view deviates from ours that we have in contemporary reality. We, academics, are responsible for educating not imposing something on. So once again, let the users decide.
DavidLearn
Posted: Monday, June 16, 2014 1:30:37 AM

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Dinesh Misra wrote:
The Police Chief wanted someone or some action or steps taken at all airports. This must be seen as some new step in response to some new requirement- by way of better control and command, in running the airports more efficiently, from the policing aspect or point of view.
Therefore, the action she wanted taken at all the airports was to post policemen there. For this specific action, the question-"What did the chief of police want at all the airports?" is absolutely appropriate, and, thus, correct.

Hello DM,
Thank you for your reply. It does make sense to me.

DL
DavidLearn
Posted: Monday, June 16, 2014 1:37:03 AM

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Location: Girona, Catalonia, Spain
shahidmost wrote:
**
What did the chief of police want at all the airports?
She wanted policemen at all the airports.

The answer does not correspond with the question for the reason that it is what the replacement of which needs to be found for an answer. A better answer therefore would be:

She wanted police at all the airports.
[what => police]
[color=blue]She wanted [significant] police presence at all the airports.


Hello shahidmost,
Thank you for your response too. Though I have a different opinion this time.
I think using 'what' isn't wrong at all. Not necessarily a 'what' question has to be answered by an action; in my understanding it can be answered by people or many other possibilities.
Example:
What did the child want? Why was he crying a lot?
He wanted his mom. That's all.

Please correct me, if I'm wrong.

DL
Romany
Posted: Monday, June 16, 2014 4:49:23 AM
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Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom
Hi zielonosiwy,

I think perhaps we must have been educated and have taught in different systems? My universities have all been in Australia and China, with a small percentage being in UK.

In the institutions I work with, in the English faculty, we are expected to point out that racist and sexist language is unacceptable. Just as racial slurs, such as the infamous American negro slur, are not tolerated, neither is sexist language. We ARE penalised for using it and we also must penalise students for using it.

Also, the final arbiter on which we depend is the Oxford, and in the Oxford you will see that 'policeman' is clearly defined as a 'male member of the police force', Policemen is, therefore, not the collective expression for all police officers, some of whom are female.But of course, you know this - I don't mean to sound didactic, but, as I also write for public consumption, I assure you that none of my editors would accept sexist language in a m/s, either.

This aspect of English is one I know from personal experience is not put forward to many ESL learners. I have always introduced the subject in classes after hearing of many native speakers who have been offended by sexist language, not realising that the second-language person to whom they are speaking is unaware that this is a possible social gaffe.

As to my analogy being 'off the mark' - it was meant as an illustration of the fact that many people use certain phrases/words/collocations that are not correct.

I find the proscribe/prescribe argument an interesting one and would be interested if you wanted to carry it on. But, you seem to have taken this a little personally and to be somewhat short (not as in length) in your responses? So - debating an issue is something I'm always up for, but an argument is not anything I want to get into. Let's just say we are products of different systems.



DavidLearn
Posted: Monday, June 16, 2014 5:13:39 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 1/27/2014
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Location: Girona, Catalonia, Spain
Hello Romany; zielonosiwy,
I've read your points of view with a lot of attention and all I can say with the due respect is that they are very interesting and as I've always heard, 'different people, different opinions'.
That's what make us rich: different opinions and respect above all.
Is there something more valuable, besides you, than the opinions we can share?

DL
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