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  1. aionides
    Guest
    #1

    Who versus whom - when not so obvious

    Hi there:

    For the most part I am very clear on the use of who and whom. But I am stumped on what to do when it is not so clear as to whether it should be the subjective or the objective case.

    Example:

    The committee was trying to reach Americans, most of whom/who saw little hope in the process.

    I am not clear. Should it be 'whom?' After all, 'whom' refers to the word Americans in the preceding clause and so is objective. But then again, who refers to those "who saw little hope," and so is subjective.

    Totally stumped.

    Kind regards,
    Alex

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    #2

    Re: Who versus whom - when not so obvious

    This is a tricky one, but for me the occurrence after the preposition 'of' would be the dictating factor and I would head for 'whom'.

  2. Steven D's Avatar
    Senior Member
    English Teacher

    • Join Date: Sep 2004
    • Posts: 834
    #3

    Re: Who versus whom - when not so obvious

    Quote Originally Posted by aionides
    Hi there:

    For the most part I am very clear on the use of who and whom. But I am stumped on what to do when it is not so clear as to whether it should be the subjective or the objective case.

    Example:

    The committee was trying to reach Americans, most of whom/who saw little hope in the process.

    I am not clear. Should it be 'whom?' After all, 'whom' refers to the word Americans in the preceding clause and so is objective. But then again, who refers to those "who saw little hope," and so is subjective.

    Totally stumped.

    Kind regards,
    Alex

    I would look at it this way:

    1. We can say this started out as 2 sentences.

    The committee was trying to reach Americans. Most of them saw little hope in the process.

    most of them - refers to "Americans of course"


    2. In order to make this one sentence, "whom" is used in place of "them". "Them" is an object. It's "most" who saw little hope - "most of them".


    The committee was trying to reach Americans, most of whom saw little hope in the process.

    Most saw little hope in the process. Most of the Americans saw little hope in the process. Most of them saw little hope in the process.

    most of the Americans = most of them = most of whom

    It is the majority, or most, that is the subject, not the Americans per se. It's "most of them". Most saw little hope in the process.
    Last edited by Steven D; 26-Apr-2005 at 04:55.

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