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Old 07-02-2003, 08:08 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Who / Whom ?

when do you use each one?

i cant quite follow the sounds right rule. and my freakin textbook confuses me even more.

anyone have a simple rule that they follow for 'who' and 'whom'?
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Old 07-02-2003, 09:04 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Just whom are you questioning?

Certainly not me; I just hate grammer.
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Old 07-02-2003, 09:40 AM   #3 (permalink)
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google found this -

Quote:
who and whom.__Who do you think is coming to the party? Whom did you give the invitations to? The traditional rules that determine the use of who and whom are relatively simple: who is used for a grammatical subject, where a nominative pronoun such as I or he would be appropriate, and whom is used as the object of a verb or preposition. Thus, we write The actor who played Hamlet was excellent, since who stands for the subject of played Hamlet, and Who do you think is the best candidate? where who stands for the subject of is the best candidate. But we write To whom did you give the letter? since whom is the object of the preposition to, and The man whom the papers criticized did not show up, since whom is the object of the verb criticized.
____1
__This all seems straightforward enough, but with complicated sentences it is not so easy. A sentence such as I met the man whom the government had tried to get France to extradite requires you to have thought the sentence through before you have written ityou should know from the start that whom will be the object of the verb extradite, which is several clauses away. It is hard to be this calculating on a consistent basis, so its not surprising that writers from Shakespeare onward often use who and whom interchangeably. 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. These rules apply in the same manner to whoever and whomever.
____2
who in restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses.__The relative pronoun who may be used in restrictive clauses, in which case it is not preceded by a comma, or in nonrestrictive clauses, in which case a comma is required. Thus you can say either The scientist who discovers a cure for cancer will be immortalized, where the clause who discovers a cure for cancer indicates which scientist will be immortalized, or The mathematician over there, who solved the four-color theorem, is widely known, where the clause who solved the four-color theorem adds information about a person already identified by the phrase the mathematician over there.
hope it helps
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Old 07-02-2003, 09:53 AM   #4 (permalink)
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You should use "who" any time you might use "he" and "whom" any time you might use "him".

"Who" and "he" are objective (or nominative) pronouns, "whom" and "him" are subjective pronouns.
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Old 07-02-2003, 09:56 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Interestingly... the whole who/whom thing is slowly fading into the sunset as common usage seems to be doing away with whom.

Most people generaly use who in place of whom on a regular basis and as a result the rule is slowly changing so that we only use who...
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Old 07-02-2003, 12:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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charlatan, i hope you're wrong regarding common usage changing the rules of grammar. this is just my opinion but i see our language eroding to the point where we will eventually be "gangsta' rappin'" to each other and not making any sense at all. nothing irks me more than to hear newscasters, politicians, or other public figures misuse their native language, especially when they influence so many...
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Old 07-02-2003, 02:41 PM   #7 (permalink)
Tone.
 
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" Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
5 Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours yronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye"

It's "common usage changing the rules of grammar" that made it possible for us to talk without sounding like that

And that (Canterbury Tale excerpt) language was "dumbed down" from this language (both english):

"HWT, we gar-dena in geardagum, eodcyninga rym gefrunon, hu a elingas ellen fremedon!"

which, now that it's been dumbed down by common useage, translates to

"LO, praise of the prowess of people-kings
of spear-armed Danes, in days long sped,
we have heard, and what honor the athelings won!"


(Beowulf, if anyone's curious) (majoring in english rules!)



Don't knock common useage too much
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Old 07-02-2003, 03:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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shakran, you're talking an evolution of hundreds of years, which is much less than the one or two hundred our "american" language has been around. i don't believe we've lost the rules of grammar over that period of time...(and i loved grindle...)
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- Robert S. McNamara
-----------------------------------------
"We will take our napalm and flame throwers out of the land that scarcely knows the use of matches...
We will leave you your small joys and smaller troubles."
- Eugene McCarthy in "Vietnam Message"
-----------------------------------------
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Old 07-02-2003, 03:49 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Who and Whom are no longer part of modern english rules.
They are the appendix and coccyx of English. The remainders of a previous incarnation (Germanic), whiich included explicit and complete accusative and dative forms for prepositions.

To whom is this addressed? Wherefore dost thou ask?
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Old 07-02-2003, 06:38 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by uncle phil
shakran, you're talking an evolution of hundreds of years, which is much less than the one or two hundred our "american" language has been around. i don't believe we've lost the rules of grammar over that period of time...(and i loved grindle...)
We haven't lost them, but they have changed. Actually a LOT has changed in those 200 years. the letter S is no longer written like a curly f (this makes a big difference - just ask a grade-school kid to read a print of writing from around the 1770's. ... "Thomaf Painef common senf" is what you'll hear! Additionally, "the" is no longer spelled "ye", and in fact most people now falsely believe "ye" is pronouned "yee" rather than "thee." I note that the ye-the changeover is much like the who-whom changeover.


Really, losing "whom" to "who" is of far less concern regarding the perceived erosion of our language than is the PC concept that we must define slang and idiotic dialects as english. Case in point, the push several years ago in California to teach classes in "ebonics."
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Old 07-10-2003, 09:32 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by shakran

Really, losing "whom" to "who" is of far less concern regarding the perceived erosion of our language than is the PC concept that we must define slang and idiotic dialects as english. Case in point, the push several years ago in California to teach classes in "ebonics."
Ah, now we're wandering into the rough waters of prescriptive v. descriptive linguistics--basically, the study of the artificial grammatical rules underlying a language v. how the language is actually used--which should get everyone all excited. Descriptive linguistics acknowledges that a language is an evolving thing, which prescriptive mostly doesn't; DL is also way more interesting and fun. In the wrong hands it can veer toward PCism, but it doesn't have to. (Part of the problem is that no one can agree on what constitutes a language, a dialect, slang, etc., and since to a great extent people identify themselves through their cultures, it ends up getting pretty sticky.)

The Calif. case shakran refers to was a resolution passed by the Oakland Unified School District with the best (if very PC) of intentions and the absolute worst of executions (resolution viewable here). The linguist Charles J. Fillmore subsequently wrote a brilliant explanation (here) of what the OUSD was trying to do and why it messed up so badly. Required reading if you're really into this sort of stuff.
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Old 07-30-2003, 08:56 PM   #12 (permalink)
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It helps to have taken a language that rely on cases (i.e. syntactic relationships of a noun), like German, Italian, Greek, or Latin. Whom is used when it's refering to the object of the sentence (the dative/objective case), and Who is when it's the subject of the sentence (the nominative case). Usually 'whom' follows a preposition (like to, by, from, with, in, etc.), so that should give you a clue about whether it's the subject or object of a sentence.

You can tell which is the subject by figuring out who or what is doing the action (the verb), and which is the object by figuring out who or what receives the action.

First, simplify things by replacing the nouns with a pronoun:

he, she, they = who (subjective/nominative case)
him, her, them = whom (objective/dative case)
his, her, their = whose (possesive/genitive case)

Here are some examples in a statement and question form:

The man who called me is my boss. (He called me.)
Who called me? The man called me.
"The man" is the subject, and "me" is the object. "Who" is used with the subject.

The man whom I called is my boss. (I called him.)
Whom did I call? I called the man.
"I" is the subject, and "the man" is the object. "Whom" is used with the object.

I think in this day and age it's become linguistically acceptable to either use who or whom whether you're using it as the subject or object, since the English language pretty much doesn't follow any strict casing rules (as a few people have already mentioned). Whom and Who are basically the remnants of how the language evolved from casing, where the word is declined/modified to explain the relationship of the word to the noun. In English, case (and I don't mean upper and lower) doesn't matter because meaning is derived from the order and position of the words, which more or less remain static, whereas in a language like Greek, the subject can be placed practically anywhere in the sentence, and the function of the words depend on how words around it are declined.
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Old 08-04-2003, 10:36 PM   #13 (permalink)
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*sigh* where is that "who fucking cares" picture when you need it.

Though its stupid, i only use whom when im trying to be formal
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Old 08-05-2003, 07:50 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Who knows ....
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Old 03-19-2004, 07:40 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Stare At The Sun
*sigh* where is that "who fucking cares" picture when you need it.

Though its stupid, i only use whom when im trying to be formal
This is exactly why language is changing and does change...
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Last edited by Charlatan; 03-20-2004 at 07:53 AM..
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Old 03-20-2004, 01:31 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Stare At The Sun
*sigh* where is that "who fucking cares" picture when you need it.
As long as it's not a "whom fucking cares" picture. This thread shows us that is wrong
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Old 03-20-2004, 03:13 AM   #17 (permalink)
 
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It seems to be that people dislike this rule only because they can't get it right. It's not even particularly difficult.

Much of our language is redundant and unnecessary but we keep them because they are a part of our language. All these little quirks are like the old houses and castles everyone seems to revere. They help make our language quaint, interesting, and beautiful.

I mean, really... Are you going to complain that we still write words like cheque and tube? Or that read is sometimes pronounced the same as red?

Language evolves but it shouldn't do so because people are dumb. Next thing you know, people will be suggesting we change the meaning of the word vertigo to mean the fear of heights...
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Old 03-20-2004, 02:58 PM   #18 (permalink)
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This thread is depressing.

Quote:
Originally posted by KnifeMissle
It seems to be that people dislike this rule only because they can't get it right. It's not even particularly difficult.

Much of our language is redundant and unnecessary but we keep them because they are a part of our language. All these little quirks are like the old houses and castles everyone seems to revere. They help make our language quaint, interesting, and beautiful.
Not only that, but knowing how to use our language has value in that it makes knowing other languages easier. I had a sad realization the day that I learned how to use 'who/whom' in my first college french class (since I should have learned it in primary school).
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Old 03-23-2004, 09:16 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I'll never forget my experience in Japanese class. The prof, an unbelievable guy (spoke six languages, Aikido master, Chaplain at a correctional facility, not to mention University lecturer) kept trying to explain grammer to us using the formal terms. It also didn't help that, although he had lived in the west since the 60's, still spoke with a heavy Japanese accent. He kept telling us that this was the "bolitional" tense. None of us could make out his words, so he finally just wrote down "volitional" on the whiteboard. I understood at that point, but then when he started talking about the "gerund" form I lost the thread completely. No idea what he was talking about. That hurt my pride for a few days.....
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Old 03-28-2004, 10:22 PM   #20 (permalink)
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It's not too hard, "who" is a subject and "whom" is an object.
What bugs me is when people misuse "less" and "fewer."
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