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    #1

    The use of who and whom

    Would you check the sentences below?

    1. Who did he go to the movies with?
    2. With whom did he go to the movies?
    3. Whom did he go to the movies with?
    4. With who did he go to the movies?

    I've thought that after a preposition(in this case, with), we use "whom"(as in 2). So, sentences 3 and 4 seem to be wrong to me.

    I appreciate your help.

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    #2

    Re: The use of who and whom

    Would you check the sentences below?

    1. Who did he go to the movies with?
    2. With whom did he go to the movies?
    3. Whom did he go to the movies with?
    4. With who did he go to the movies?

    I've thought that after a preposition(in this case, with), we use "whom"(as in 2). So, sentences 3 and 4 seem to be wrong to me.

    I appreciate your help.


    Who did he go with to the movies?
    With whom did he go to the movies?
    Whom did he go with to the movies?
    All the above are OK.
    I prefer the first.
    Regards,
    rj1948

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    #3

    Re: The use of who and whom

    Quote Originally Posted by Yoshio View Post
    Would you check the sentences below?
    "whom" has largely disappeared from (especially spoken) English.
    1. Who did he go to the movies with? but widely used
    2. With whom did he go to the movies?
    3. Whom did he go to the movies with?
    4. With who did he go to the movies? but widely used

    The questions can be 'reorganized' as 'Did he go to the movies with him/her? (not he/she), so this tells us that the object form "whom" is correct.


    I've thought that after a preposition(in this case, with), we use "whom"(as in 2). So, sentences 3 and 4 seem to be wrong to me.

    I appreciate your help.
    2006

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: The use of who and whom

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    2006
    Hi 2006,
    Are you sure about 3.? Whom did he go to the movies with? It doesn't seem right to me.

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    #5

    Re: The use of who and whom

    whom - pronoun used as an object of of verb or preposition.

    Whom did he go to the movies ? not correct
    Whom did he ask to go to the movies with? correct

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    #6

    Exclamation Re: The use of who and whom

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    Hi 2006,
    Are you sure about 3.? Whom did he go to the movies with? It doesn't seem right to me.
    I agree with bhaisahab. To me only 2nd one is correct.

  2. Soup's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: The use of who and whom

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    Hi 2006,
    Are you sure about 3.? Whom did he go to the movies with? It doesn't seem right to me.
    From Pronouns
    Who / whom did you go with? Most of us would use who. But by rewriting it slightly, it's easy to see that it has to be whom. "Did you go with he / him?" So the real sentence is, "Whom did you go with?" You could also say/write, "With whom did you go?"
    From The UVic Writer's Guide: Grammar
    Sometimes a verb will also take an indirect object, which can be replaced by "to" and a prepositional phrase. Once again the objective case of the appropriate pronoun will be in order. Thus
    21a I gave her the ball
    21b I gave the ball to her
    21c Whom did you give the ball?
    21d Whom did you give the ball to?
    21e To whom did you give the ball?
    (You have probably heard that you shouldn't end a sentence with a preposition, as in 21d, but this is a stylistic question not a grammatical one.)
    From Common grammar mistakes
    Who or Whom

    And finally there is the dilemma of whether to say who or whom as in these situations--Who/whom was at the door? or Who/whom did you give the money to?

    The good news is this. Speakers at all academic and social levels tend to either ignore or be confused by the distinction between who and whom, generally choosing "who" and letting it go at that. A result of this is that in situations where "whom" is the correct form, choosing the correct form again may again actually sound somewhat stilted. The bottom line for most social situations is go with "who" as chances are your listener won't know the difference either.

    However, if one chooses to be fastidious, it works like this. Because "who" and "whom" are pronouns, they have case as determined by function in a particular sentence. Thus, getting back to the examples above. "Who" was at the door is correct because "who" is the subject of the sentence and "who" is a subject-case pronoun. On the other hand, in the second example--"whom" did you give the money to is technically correct because the pronoun "whom" is the object of the preposition to and "whom" is an objective-case pronoun. Especially sharp readers will note the second example leaves a hanging preposition which is also often considered a grammatical faux pas. So if we want the second example to be grammatically perfect we would say: "To whom did you give the money"
    From 78. who. 1. Grammar. The American Heritage Book of English Usage. 1996
    In speech and informal writing, people tend to use who, even as the object of a verb or preposition. A sentence such as Who did John say he was going to support? is perfectly natural, despite violating the traditional rules. Using whom often sounds forced or pretentiously correct, as in Whom shall I say is calling? or Whom did you give it to? Nevertheless, many writers adhere to the rules, especially in formal style.
    From Lynch, Guide to Grammar and Style — W
    While it's possible to memorize a rule for distinguishing who from whom, it's easier to trust your ear. A simple test to see which is proper is to replace who/whom with he/him. If he sounds right, use who; if him is right, use whom. For example: since he did it and not him did it, use who did it; since we give something to him and not to he, use to whom. It gets messy only when the preposition is separated from the who: Who/whom did you give it to? Rearrange the words in your head ...


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    #8

    Re: The use of who and whom

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    From Pronouns
    Who / whom did you go with? Most of us would use who. But by rewriting it slightly, it's easy to see that it has to be whom. "Did you go with he / him?" So the real sentence is, "Whom did you go with?" You could also say/write, "With whom did you go?"
    From 78. who. 1. Grammar. The American Heritage Book of English Usage. 1996
    In speech and informal writing, people tend to use who, even as the object of a verb or preposition. A sentence such as Who did John say he was going to support? is perfectly natural, despite violating the traditional rules. Using whom often sounds forced or pretentiously correct, as in Whom shall I say is calling? or Whom did you give it to? Nevertheless, many writers adhere to the rules, especially in formal style.
    From Lynch, Guide to Grammar and Style W
    While it's possible to memorize a rule for distinguishing who from whom, it's easier to trust your ear. A simple test to see which is proper is to replace who/whom with he/him. If he sounds right, use who; if him is right, use whom. For example: since he did it and not him did it, use who did it; since we give something to him and not to he, use to whom. It gets messy only when the preposition is separated from the who: Who/whom did you give it to? Rearrange the words in your head ...
    Lynch's test (and it's a good one), proves that The American Heritage Book of English Usage is wrong when it says "Using whom often sounds forced or pretentiously correct, as in Whom shall I say is calling?".

    It is pretententiously incorrect to say Whom shall I say is calling? Applying Lynch's test, we get Shall I say he is calling? So it should be Who shall I say is calling? not whom.

    I don't want to tread on anybody's toes but The American Heritage Book of English Usage has itself fallen victim to what the Routledge dictionary terms "hypercorrection"*.

    *** Routledge Dictionary of Language and Linguistics, Routledge 1996, p. 213


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    #9

    Re: The use of who and whom

    Quote Originally Posted by naomimalan View Post
    Lynch's test (and it's a good one), proves that The American Heritage Book of English Usage is wrong when it says "Using whom often sounds forced or pretentiously correct, as in Whom shall I say is calling?".

    It is pretententiously incorrect to say Whom shall I say is calling? Applying Lynch's test, we get Shall I say he is calling? So it should be Who shall I say is calling? not whom.

    I don't want to tread on anybody's toes but The American Heritage Book of English Usage has itself fallen victim to what the Routledge dictionary terms "hypercorrection"*.

    *** Routledge Dictionary of Language and Linguistics, Routledge 1996, p. 213
    You miiiiight have misread this, Naomi. Isn't it possible that the AHD was only suggesting that people think they are being pretentiously correct? I'm not completely certain that they actually state that it was "correct".

    Having said that, we all know that 'whom' is moribund. The case distinction has, for most intents and purposes, been lost. I assure you it shan't be retrieved. For the vast vast majority of cases, 'who' is used for both subject and object.

    If 'who' can so easily function for both in the vast majority of uses, it's not at all unrealistic for 'whom' to develop into a use where it acts as a highly formal subject, as in, "Whom shall I say is calling?"

    Once again, we have a traditional rule that does not reflect actual language use. Such a rule simply isn't a rule, it's a prescription; as such it is not followed by people using natural language.

    While Professor Lynch's test may work for FWE, it's basically useless for speech. We never consciously think of grammar rules to help us decide what to say. The very fact that it has to be thought about in a conscious fashion tells us that it is not a rule that is natural to language.

    I doubt very much that Prof Lynch was suggesting this for anything but FWE. Choosing to follow a prescription like this for most language situations doesn't make one fastidious. It makes one appear ridiculous.

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    #10

    Re: The use of who and whom

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    Once again, we have a traditional rule that does not reflect actual language use. Such a rule simply isn't a rule, it's a prescription; as such it is not followed by people using natural language.

    ...The very fact that it has to be thought about in a conscious fashion tells us that it is not a rule that is natural to language.
    Beautifully said.

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