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    #1

    The public didn't know who to hold/to be held accountable for the poor economy.

    "The public didn't know who to hold accountable for the poor economy." (from Advanced Vocabulary Builder for English Exams of LiveABC)
    Is this sentence correct? I think that "to hold accountable" is wrong; it should be "to be held accountable".
    So the whole sentence goes like this:
    The public didn't know who to be held accountable for the poor economy.
    Am I right? Thanks!

  1. Piscean's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: The public didn't know who to hold/to be held accountable for the poor economy.

    The original sentence is correct. Yours is not.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 26-Apr-2016 at 16:29. Reason: Fixed typo

  2. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: The public didn't know who to hold/to be held accountable for the poor economy.

    Quote Originally Posted by z7655431 View Post
    "The public didn't know whom to hold accountable for the poor economy." (from Advanced Vocabulary Builder for English Exams of LiveABC)
    Is this sentence correct? I think that "to hold accountable" is wrong; it should be "to be held accountable".
    So the whole sentence goes like this:
    The public didn't know who to be held accountable for the poor economy.
    Am I right? Thanks!
    No. Use "whom to hold accountable" or "who should be held accountable" - NOT "who to be held accountable."

    You're welcome!
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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    #4

    Re: The public didn't know who to hold/to be held accountable for the poor economy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    No. Use "whom to hold accountable" or "who should be held accountable" - NOT "who to be held accountable."

    You're welcome!
    If you write who rather than whom, some people will find your sentence incorrect. Few Anglophones would actually write or say whom in that sentence, though, so my advice is to smile and nod at anyone who insists on whom, while writing who and pocketing the spare m for a rainy day.
    I am not a teacher.

  3. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: The public didn't know who to hold/to be held accountable for the poor economy.

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    If you write who rather than whom, some people will find your sentence incorrect. Few Anglophones would actually write or say whom in that sentence, though, so my advice is to smile and nod at anyone who insists on whom, while writing who and pocketing the spare m for a rainy day.
    GS is right. I know that most students are looking for correct standard English, and I comment accordingly. But many formal rules go out the window in informal writing and conversation. This is certainly one of them.

    Thank you for clarifying that, GS!
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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    #6

    Re: The public didn't know who to hold/to be held accountable for the poor economy.

    I myself might write whom in that sentence, ignoring my own sage advice. But I wouldn't dream of calling a usage followed by 99% of users "incorrect".
    I am not a teacher.

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    #7

    Re: The public didn't know who to hold/to be held accountable for the poor economy.

    I realise this comment is a little off-topic but I have to say I think the use of whom in more formal or academic situations is far more common than GoesStation and others make out. (Maybe rather more so in BrE than AmE, perhaps.)

    The original sentence doesn't seem very informal, and certainly not conversational, so I would say that whom is the proper word.

  4. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: The public didn't know who to hold/to be held accountable for the poor economy.

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    I realise this comment is a little off-topic but I have to say I think the use of whom in more formal or academic situations is far more common than GoesStation and others make out. (Maybe rather more so in BrE than AmE, perhaps.)

    The original sentence doesn't seem very informal, and certainly not conversational, so I would say that whom is the proper word.
    Yup, it can be argued both ways.

    My position: I took Spanish in high school. I didn't learn much, but I remember taking a brief trip to Latin America when I was sixteen and noticing that a lot of people there didn't use perfect Spanish.

    It struck me then - and I feel the same way now - that it hadn't hurt me to study strictly grammatical Spanish before going to a Spanish-speaking country. If nothing else, learning the formal rules can be a jumping-off point for discovering the ins and outs and variations of another language.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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