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  1. easybreakable's Avatar
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    #1

    Exclamation the use of "whom"

    I need to know how it's used properly, someone told me that it's an old English and no longer used but sometimes I feel like it should be placed in certain situations, for example: I don't know whom to blame, Sara or David!

    Clarify this please.

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    #2

    Re: the use of "whom"

    "Who" is a subject. "Whom" is an object.

    "Who let the dogs out?" vs. "With whom are you going to the dance?"

    "Whom" is not used by many, many natives. (e.g. "Who are you going to the dance with?") Its use can seem overly formal or pretentious.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: the use of "whom"

    However,even those who don't use it often will still use it immediately after a preposition.
    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.

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    #4

    Re: the use of "whom"

    True. Even William F Buckley, Jr. gave up on the use of "whom" to start questions ("Who are you going to meet there?"), but retained the after preposition use. ("You are going to meet with whom?")

  3. easybreakable's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: the use of "whom"

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    However,even those who don't use it often will still use it immediately after a preposition.



    Do you mean it could only be used after a preposition? Is my own example wrong?

  4. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: the use of "whom"

    Your example is quite correct.

    Most native speakers would use "who" (technically incorrect, but commonly accepted) in their speech.
    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.

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    #7

    Re: the use of "whom"

    Quote Originally Posted by easybreakable View Post
    I need to know how it's used properly, someone told me that it's an old English and no longer used but sometimes I feel like it should be placed in certain situations, for example: I don't know whom to blame, Sara or David!

    Clarify this please.

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****
    ************************


    Easybreakable,


    (1) I agree with what the other posters have recommended.

    (2) I only wish to add that sometimes people who tell you that

    "it's old English and no longer used" are often people who do not

    understand the difference themselves.

    (a) If you wish to call yourself fluent in English, I suggest that you

    try to understand the use of "whom" to the best of your ability.

    Then you can decide when and if to use it.

    (i) Probably in speech, it takes too much lung power to say:

    WHOM do you live with? So go ahead and use "who" -- so long

    as you know it is "wrong." On the other hand, notice how much

    easier it is to say: "With whom do you live?"

    THANK YOU



  5. 5jj's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: the use of "whom"

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    (a) If you wish to call yourself fluent in English, I suggest that you
    try to understand the use of "whom" to the best of your ability.
    Parser normally gives very sound advice, but I disagree with him on this point.

    As SoothingDave noted, its use can seem overly formal or pretentious; this is most certainly true in Britain. I suspect that the majority of native speakers of BrE do not know when or how to use whom.

    I see no point in a learner attempting to master what is alien to many native speakers.

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    #9

    Re: the use of "whom"

    I'd like to give my opinion on this too because I think it differs slightly from both of your (Parser's and 5jj's) stances.

    I think there are two well-grounded approaches a student may want to employ. One would be to never use the word "whom" and give up understanding its usage. It shouldn't make understanding it in a context difficult. This approach is bad because the student gives up understanding an extant part of the language. It's good because they have to learn less losing little.

    Another good way would be to learn to use "whom" correctly. It's good because the student improves their control over their writing: they have more alternative ways of writing the same. It gives the student a stylistic tool. It's bad because the student has to learn more.

    The problem arises when there's no approach and I think that's the problem of the native speakers you mentioned (those of them who have a problem with it). I see native and non-native speakers using "whom" incorrectly. This is not good because it sounds (or looks) uneducated. That's why I think one should pay some attention to the word "whom". It's necessary to make a conscious choice.

  6. NikkiBarber's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: the use of "whom"

    I agree that it is better to stick to "who" if you are not sure about the rules, but I don't understand how using "whom" could seem pretentious.
    While none of my English teachers would mark the use of "who" as an object incorrect (even though it is) they would all give students who were able to use "whom" correctly a slightly better grade.
    It is true that most people say "who" when they are having a conversation but in written texts "whom" is still used and it looks perfectly normal to me. Perhaps "whom" is just more common in America?

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