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    MsJacquiiC Poetica Magnifique

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    It's (pardon the pun) relatively simple to figure out the proper usages of the relative pronouns who and whom: If the pronoun should be subjective, use who or whoever; when it should be in the objective case, use whom or whomever.


    Whether or not you choose the objective form or the subjective form is up to you and depends on the formality of your writing...
    The subjective case:

    Who is calling?

    Who do you think will win the election?

    I don't know who is at the door.

    The objective case:

    To whom did you address the letter?

    Whom do you think they'll nominate?

    We chose candidates whom we hoped the public would trust.


    If it's still unclear, try substituting he or him (or, to avoid gender bias, she or her):

    He is calling.

    Do you think he will win the election?

    He is at the door.

    Did you address the letter to her?

    Do you think they'll nominate her?

    We hope the public will trust her.


    The same strategy works for whoever versus whomever:

    Whoever is responsible for letting the cat out should go find her. (He is responsible.)

    You are free to go to the movies with whomever you want. (Go to the movies with her.)

    Things get a little more tricky when who or whom are part of longer clauses that, themselves, function as subjects or objects:

    We are looking for donations from whoever wishes to contribute.

    In this sentence, "whoever" is the subject of the clause "whoever wishes to contribute," and the entire clause is the object of the preposition "from," not just the pronoun. Confusing? Use our little trick, which yields, He wishes to contribute.


    Another tricky one:

    I told him that I figured out who would be the best person to ask.

    "Who" is the subject of the clause "who would be the best person to ask." Employing our strategy, replace who with she:

    Right: I told him that I figured out she would be the best person to ask.

    Wrong: I told him that I figured out her would be the best person to ask.


    Note: Everyday speech can be informal, as is dialogue and informal writing, and who is often used when whom is actually correct. Whether or not you choose the objective form or the subjective form is up to you and depends on the formality of your writing. The conclusion from experts is this: In informal speech and writing, we can break the rules. In formal writing, we cannot.


    [ Source: WritersRelief.com ]

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    Posted By MsJacquiiC | Nov 17, 2007
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