Saturday, February 11, 2006

Who & Whom

This is from the New York Times
Read the full post at:
July 20, 2010, 8:00 am

Who? Whom? Whatever

Notes from the newsroom on grammar, usage and style. (Some frequently asked questions are here.)
Why oh why can’t we get this right?
Use “who” when it’s the subject of the verb in a relative clause, “whom” when it’s the object. Don’t be fooled by an intervening phrase of attribution.
The latest slips:
Dr. Margaret D. Smith, 70, a physician and licensed pilot, was at the plane’s controls when it crashed, The Associated Press reported. Also killed were Michael Ferguson, 44, and his wife, Theresa, whom officials believe were related to Dr. Smith.
Make it “who … were related,” not “whom.” If you’re confused by “officials believe,” turn the sentence around to test it: “Officials believe they [not them] were related …”
Then again, there’s something undeniably dramatic about a man in a cage surrounded by six lions. He is Brian McMillan, whom the program reports was discovered by the legendary lion tamer Gunther Gebel-Williams, and he lavishes special, tender attention on one with a white mane and regal gait.
Same problem. Make it “who … was discovered.”

Who or Whom? Hmmmmm?
The He/Him Method*
Use the he/him method to decide which word is correct.
he = who (this is in the subjective case)
him = whom (this is in the objective case)
Who/Whom wrote the letter? He wrote the letter. Therefore, who is correct.
For who/whom should I vote? Should I vote for him? Therefore, whom is correct.

The Two-Clause Trick
We all know who/whom pulled that prank.
This sentence contains two clauses:
We all know and who/whom pulled that prank.
We are interested in the second clause because it contains the who/whom.
He pulled that prank.
Therefore who is correct.

We want to know on who/whom the prank was pulled.
This sentence contains two clauses:
We want to know and the prank was pulled on who/whom.
Again, we are interested in the second clause because it contains the who/whom.
The prank was pulled on him.
Therefore whom is correct.
*This summary is adapted from the The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Who & Whom Quiz: Choose the correct word for each sentence.
1. We intend to notify ____________ ranks highest on the list.
2. These are the sign language interpreters ____________ I feel you should acknowledge.
3. ____________ can we trust in a crisis?
4. Ms. Cohen, ________________ has a way with words, will be the valedictorian.
5. The person ____________ produces the most work will receive a bonus.
6. ____________ are you dancing with next?
7. ____________ would you say is the best person for this position?
8. The therapist will talk with ____________ needs her help.
9. We are not sure ____________ set off the alarm.
10. Don't talk with anyone ____________ you think might be connected with the competition.
11. ____________ had my job before me?
12. It was she ____________ they selected for the Cabinet post.
13. Sometimes it is the one ____________ does the most work who is the least tired.
14. We plan to hire an assistant ____________ is a good proofreader.
15. The prize will be given to ____________ writes the best essay.
16. The bookkeeper is the one to __________the figures should be mailed.
17. Give the recipe for the vegetarian chili to ____________ calls for it.
18. ____________ did you really want to be there?
19. She is the contestant ____________ they sent to us.
20. This vacation spot will refresh ____________ seeks refuge here.

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