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  1. #1
    Stephen Eckelberry is offline Newbie
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    Default Facebook "Who do you want to message?"

    I saw this on Facebook, and wonder about the grammar. Shouldn't it be "Whom do you want to message?" Because in fact if this sentence weren't a question it would be "I want to message __", and therefore 'who' should be in the objective case, not the subjective.

  2. #2
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Facebook "Who do you want to message?"

    Purists insist that only 'whom' is correct. In British English, few people would say 'whom'; A few more might write it, but not many. 'Who' is acceptable; indeed, it is more natural for most speakers of BrE.
    Last edited by 5jj; 14-Apr-2013 at 22:17. Reason: typo

  3. #3
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Facebook "Who do you want to message?"

    I think anyone who insisted on 'whom' there would splutter over their Corn Flakes at that use of 'message' too.

    b

  4. #4
    probus's Avatar
    probus is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Facebook "Who do you want to message?"

    5jj's reply is probably even more correct in AmE than in BrE. Nobody, but nobody, ever says whom in North America. Once in a blue moon I think about saying whom, and then I double clutch and go "Whoa, what were you thinking?'

  5. #5
    Route21's Avatar
    Route21 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Facebook "Who do you want to message?"

    Oooo! I haven't double de-clutched for a very, very long time!
    R21

  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Facebook "Who do you want to message?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Route21 View Post
    Oooo! I haven't double de-clutched for a very, very long time!
    R21
    Neither has my driver.

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Facebook "Who do you want to message?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Eckelberry View Post
    I saw this on Facebook, and wonder about the grammar. Shouldn't it be "Whom do you want to message?" Because in fact if this sentence weren't a question it would be "I want to message __", and therefore 'who' should be in the objective case, not the subjective.
    Computing takes a very relaxed approach to a number of grammar issues- forums not fora, etc. However, the who/whom distinction has been eroded to such an extent that it is impossible to say that this sentence is an error nowadays. In the most formal contexts, you could make a case for whom being preferable but Facebook is not such a context.

  8. #8
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Facebook "Who do you want to message?"

    Quote Originally Posted by probus View Post
    5jj's reply is probably even more correct in AmE than in BrE. Nobody, but nobody, ever says whom in North America.
    That surprises me. When I was still training, not that long ago, I had several young American trainees who insisted that 'whom' was widely used. With one or two, I had to produce grammar books to prove that my claims about the acceptability of 'who' was not a crackpot idea of my own.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Facebook "Who do you want to message?"

    I must disagree with Probus.
    "Whom" is alive and well when it comes immediately after a preposition. It is certainly highly unlikely to show up as the first word in the subject sentence, though.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  10. #10
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Facebook "Who do you want to message?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I must disagree with Probus.
    "Whom" is alive and well when it comes immediately after a preposition. It is certainly highly unlikely to show up as the first word in the subject sentence, though.
    That is also true in BrE.

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