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  1. #1
    Pierce111 is offline Member
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    Default "Who are you talking to?"

    Recently I have encountered a rule saying that when the anser for the question is "him", "them", "us" then the qestion should start with "whom" (instead of "who").
    But above question doesn't stick to this rule. Is it a some exception or the my rule is wrong?

  2. #2
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: "Who are you talking to?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Pierce111 View Post
    Recently I have encountered a rule saying that when the anser for the question is "him", "them", "us" then the qestion should start with "whom" (instead of "who").
    But above question doesn't stick to this rule. Is it a some exception or the my rule is wrong?
    Your rule is not wrong, it's just that hardly anyone uses "whom" in modern English.

  3. #3
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: "Who are you talking to?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Pierce111 View Post
    Recently I have encountered a rule saying that when the anser for the question is "him", "them", "us" then the qestion should start with "whom" (instead of "who").
    But above question doesn't stick to this rule. Is it a some exception or the my rule is wrong?
    In formal English (at least in AmE), "whom" is used whenever the pronoun is the object of a verb or preposition. In less formal English, some people still follow that rule, but many use "whom" only when the word directly follows a preposition. In your sentence, the preposition is separated from "who/whom" and appears at the end of the sentence.

  4. #4
    charliedeut's Avatar
    charliedeut is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: "Who are you talking to?"

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    In formal English (at least in AmE), "whom" is used whenever the pronoun is the object of a verb or preposition. In less formal English, some people still follow that rule, but many use "whom" only when the word directly follows a preposition.
    As in "For Whom the Bell Tolls" (Both Hemingway's novel and Metallica's song!)
    Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.

  5. #5
    euncu's Avatar
    euncu is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: "Who are you talking to?"

    Hello,

    When a native-speaker hears someone saying "To whom are you talking?" , what would they think of the speaker? I mean, would they think about the speaker as outdated, pompous or just as a good user of the English Language?

    Thanks for your answers in advance

  6. #6
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Who are you talking to?"

    Quote Originally Posted by euncu View Post
    Hello,

    When a native-speaker hears someone saying "To whom are you talking?" , what would they think of the speaker? I mean, would they think about the speaker as outdated, pompous or just as a good user of the English Language?

    Thanks for your answers in advance
    If it was spoken with a foreign accent, I'd assume that the speaker was hypercorrecting, and was not familiar with colloquial English. Otherwise, I'd need some context to tell why they are speaking that way. There are other reasons: mock-pompous, attempted humour, clarification...

  7. #7
    euncu's Avatar
    euncu is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: "Who are you talking to?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    If it was spoken with a foreign accent, I'd assume that the speaker was hypercorrecting, and was not familiar with colloquial English. Otherwise, I'd need some context to tell why they are speaking that way. There are other reasons: mock-pompous, attempted humour, clarification...
    But it's okay in writing I assume, isn't it? Or is it still bit of odd to use that even in writing?

  8. #8
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Who are you talking to?"

    Quote Originally Posted by euncu View Post
    But it's okay in writing I assume, isn't it? Or is it still bit of odd to use that even in writing?
    I'm trying to think of why you'd write "To whom are you talking?" If it's dialogue, then all the considerations for speaking are relevant.

  9. #9
    euncu's Avatar
    euncu is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: "Who are you talking to?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    I'm trying to think of why you'd write "To whom are you talking?" If it's dialogue, then all the considerations for speaking are relevant.
    I'm just asking because as far as I know this would be the most prescriptive way of saying or writing it, and some who are proponent of the prescriptive approach to the language would still expect that the sentence should be worded that way.

    Apart from what I mentioned above I believe, which doesn't mean I'm right, in formal correspondences, it is the proper way one should write.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: "Who are you talking to?"

    Quote Originally Posted by euncu View Post
    Apart from what I mentioned above I believe, which doesn't mean I'm right, in formal correspondences, it is the proper way one should write.
    I don't think so. "To whom are you talking" isn't any more proper than "Whom are you talking to?" It's entirely acceptable to end a sentence with a preposition.
    I am not a teacher.

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