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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    who & whom

    Hi there,

    I hear people use both who and whom in below sentence.

    - She likes my friend who (whom) I think is clever.

    I think 'who' should be gramatically right but lots of people use 'whom' as they think it feels right. I was just wondering if there is any difference between them. My aussie friend says that 'whom' feels like a bit older than 'who'. What do you think?

    Would appreciate your help.
    Last edited by toskim; 22-Apr-2009 at 08:29.

  2. engee30's Avatar
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    #2

    Smile Re: who & whom

    Quote Originally Posted by toskim View Post
    Hi there,

    I hear people use both who and whom in below sentence.

    - She likes my friend who (whom) I think is clever.

    I think 'who' should be gramatically right but lots of people use 'whom' as they think it feels right. I was just wondering if there is any difference between them. My aussie friend says that 'whom' feels like a bit older than 'who'. What do you think?

    Would appreciate your help.
    Whom in this case is incorrect.
    She likes my friend who (I think) is clever.
    She likes my friend who is clever, I think.

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    #3

    Re: who & whom

    Beg to differ there!

    She likes my friend who (whom) I think is clever.

    I think he/she (the friend) is clever.
    I subject, he/she object.

    You should use whom as the object of the verb. Use who as the subject of the verb.
    She likes my friend whom I think is clever.

    That said, no one cares much anymore, and lots of people use who for whom. Just watch out for the Grammar Police, they are mean!

  3. engee30's Avatar
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    #4

    Cool Re: who & whom

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedroski View Post

    I think he/she (the friend) is clever.
    I subject, he/she object.

    You should use whom as the object of the verb. Use who as the subject of the verb.
    Couldn't agree more, Pedroski.

    She likes my friend who I think is clever.
    She likes [whom?] my friend who is clever. - my friend who is clever is the object of likes
    who is clever - who is the subject in this clause; you couldn't use whom here, could you?

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    #5

    Re: who & whom

    In the relative clause after my friend......
    The verb in question is think, the subject of this verb is I, its object should be whom.

    You're ok, they chucked me out of the Grammar Police!

  4. engee30's Avatar
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    #6

    Post Re: who & whom

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedroski View Post
    In the relative clause after my friend......
    The verb in question is think, the subject of this verb is I, its object should be whom.

    You're ok, they chucked me out of the Grammar Police!
    That relative clause who I think is clever is made up of two clauses - who is clever and I think, who and I being the subjects.

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    #7

    Re: who & whom

    Hi Engee, I think I have a solution which may satisfy you and me.

    'She likes my friend' we both have no problem with that bit.

    You would like to put:

    who I think is clever.

    I don't know if you diagram sentences, but if you try to draw the diagram of this, you end up with 'I think' somewhere in space, unconnected to anything that has been said. To inform the reader that you think is very nice, but has no relation here. I might just as well say I sleep.

    I wanted to put:

    whom I think is clever.

    Try and draw the diagram, and you end up with is clever hanging in space, unconnected to 'whom I think'. Also, I then have 'I think whom' as my subject verb object, which is not much use to us either.

    If however, I write:

    She likes my friend, whom I think clever. Then everything fits nicely.

    Can you live with that? That is to say, the other is not a sentence, and that is why it causes problems.

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    #8

    Re: who & whom

    Hi toskim

    Your friend is right about whom sounding outdated. Speakers will drop the -m.

    From a grammatical standpoint, though, whom doesn't work here:
    Ex: She likes my friend whom I think is clever.
    Test it: I think he is clever. / I think who is clever.
    Because 'he' is the subject of the verb 'is', it's replaced by who, not whom. Use who for subjects and whom for objects.

    Repair: She likes my friend who I think is clever.

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    #9

    Re: who & whom

    Hello Pedroski,

    Ex: She likes my friend, whom I think clever.

    The verb think takes a clause as its object:

    1. I think my friend is clever. <clause>
    The head of that clause, my friend, is the subject of is clever, which makes it replaceable by who, not whom.
    1. I think who is clever? <subject of is>
    2. ... who I think is clever. <still subject of is>
    3. Who do you think is clever? <still subject of is>
    4. Whom do you think is clever?
    Test it: Whom is clever?
    Use whom for objects, not subjects.

    Three potential sentences
    1. She likes my friend.
    2. My friend is clever.
    3. I think my friend is clever.

    Reducing the sentences to one sentence: Adjectival clause, who ...
    1. She likes my friend.
    2. My friend is clever. <subject of is>
    => She likes my friend who is clever. <subject of is>

    1. She likes my friend.
    3. I think my friend is clever. <subject of is>
    => She likes my friend who (I think) is clever. <subject of is>
    Test it: ...who is clever <subject of is>
    Use whom for objects
    1. She likes my friend.
    4. I met my friend last week. <object of met>
    => She likes my friend whom I met last week.
    Test it: I met my friend last week. <object of met>

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    #10

    Smile Re: who & whom

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedroski View Post
    If however, I write:

    She likes my friend, whom I think clever. Then everything fits nicely.

    Can you live with that? That is to say, the other is not a sentence, and that is why it causes problems.
    Surely I can live with that. That's exactly what I've been expecting you to write, by the way.
    However, I recommend leaving that comma out:

    She (Mandy) likes my friend whom I think clever. (I think my friend, not Mandy, clever)
    She (Mandy) likes my friend, whom I think clever. (I think her Mandy, not my friend, clever)

    That comma separates your reference to your friend. In such a case, whom I think clever refers back not to my friend, but to the subject - she (her).

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