Who and whom

Status
Not open for further replies.

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Japan
My Google finds 389,00 examples of "whom did you" and 33,100,000 of "who did you". To suggest that who is never used as an object is not borne out by the most basic levels of assessment of usage.
 

Matthew Wai

VIP Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2013
Member Type
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
China
Current Location
China
This learner has come to the following conclusion:
Grammatically 'who' is not the object form, but actually it is often used as the object form, rightly or wrongly.
 

Barb_D

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 12, 2007
Member Type
Other
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
This learner has come to the following conclusion:
Grammatically 'who' is not the object form, but actually it is often used as the object form, rightly or wrongly.

I suggest this conclusion instead:

As English continues to evolve, rules that reflect common and everyday use tell us that "who" can serve as both the subject and object.

Some day, when I'm bored, I'll see what other pedantic advice grammar monster spits out, with English frozen in the state of "what was correct when I had 10th grade English."
 

Ju

Key Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2006
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
Hong Kong
Current Location
Hong Kong
Thank you very much for all your input.

So, if it is an examination, I should choose "whom" instead of "who" in the follwing sentences, am I right?


1. Who did you meet at thell library? Amy and Susan.

2. Whom did you meet at thell library? Amy and Susan

Thanks.
 

Phaedrus

Banned
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
One thing is very clear:

It is never grammatically incorrect to use "whom" as an object pronoun.
 

GoesStation

No Longer With Us
Joined
Dec 22, 2015
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
Thank you very much for all your input.

So, if it is an examination, I should choose "whom" instead of "who" in the follwing sentences, am I right?


1. Who did you meet at thell library? Amy and Susan.

2. Whom did you meet at thell library? Amy and Susan
Is the library's name Thell Library? If so, you have to capitalize the first letter of each word.

Your teacher was probably taught that only whom is correct. It's not wrong, though hardly anyone would use it there, so you should pick number 2.

I suspect the question is about the library.
 

GoesStation

No Longer With Us
Joined
Dec 22, 2015
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
One thing is very clear:

It is never grammatically incorrect to use "whom" as an object pronoun.

I agree. It's not natural in most cases for the overwhelming majority of Anglophones though.
 

Ju

Key Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2006
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
Hong Kong
Current Location
Hong Kong
Is the library's name Thell Library? If so, you have to capitalize the first letter of each word.

Your teacher was probably taught that only whom is correct. It's not wrong, though hardly anyone would use it there, so you should pick number 2.

I suspect the question is about the library.


Sorry, it's my fault. I misspelled it.

Thanks.
 

GoesStation

No Longer With Us
Joined
Dec 22, 2015
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
This learner has come to the following conclusion:
Grammatically 'who' is not the object form, but actually it is often used as the object form, rightly or wrongly.
In a grammar based on actual usage by millions of careful writers, who and whom are both object forms. Whom is favored when it immediately follows a preposition and, occasionally, in other positions. This analysis can be supported by attestations dating back hundreds of years.

A few diehards insist that the overwhelming majority of users are wrong.
 

Phaedrus

Banned
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
This analysis can be supported by attestations dating back hundreds of years.
I do appreciate your Shakespeare quotes, GoesStation. However, quoting Shakespearean usage doesn't always constitute a knock-down proof of grammatical correctness. Lord knows, I've tried to score some grammatical points the same way myself over the years. I personally would be more impressed if you could find even one use of "who" as an object pronoun in the entire King James Bible (1611).

I've heard that there is an Apostrophe Preservation Society. Perhaps I shall start one for "Whom" and "Shall."
 

GoesStation

No Longer With Us
Joined
Dec 22, 2015
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
I do appreciate your Shakespeare quotes, GoesStation. However, quoting Shakespearean usage doesn't always constitute a knock-down proof of grammatical correctness. Lord knows, I've tried to score some grammatical points the same way myself over the years. I personally would be more impressed if you could find even one use of "who" as an object pronoun in the entire King James Bible (1611).

I've heard that there is an Apostrophe Preservation Society. Perhaps I shall start one for "Whom" and "Shall."
:)

Here's the opposite case from the KJV: He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? (King James Bible, Matthew 16:15).
 

Ju

Key Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2006
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
Hong Kong
Current Location
Hong Kong
1. You gave the parcel to whom?
2. Who did you give the parcel to?

The above sentences are the same in meaning and grammatical.

Am I correct?

Thanks.
 

Rover_KE

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 20, 2010
Member Type
Retired English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
England
Current Location
England

Ju

Key Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2006
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
Hong Kong
Current Location
Hong Kong
1. You gave the parcel to whom?
2. Who did you give the parcel to?

The above sentences are the same in meaning and grammatical.

Am I correct?

Thanks.

But sentence 1 is not natural so seldom to be used for both written and spoken English, am I correct?

Thanks.
 

Rover_KE

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 20, 2010
Member Type
Retired English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
England
Current Location
England
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top