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WHO or WHOM? A 90% Trick
Self | 30APR03 | bannie

Posted on 04/30/2003 6:15:29 PM PDT by bannie

In a recent thread, we discussed teachers' various abilities/inabilities. With the banter about math "blocks," I had to start calling people on the frequent mis-usage of the pronoun "that."

I teased others--and I hope the understood my playful intent! Even true mathematicians can make simple mistakes in math. Likewise, even true grammarians can make simple mistakes in grammar. I only made note because of the subject of the thread (An English teacher who was having trouble passing a required math test).

In the thread, I mentioned that I could give a quick-fix lesson on how to determine whether one should use the pronoun "who" or the pronoun "whom."

The Rule:
WHO = SUBJECTIVE
WHOM = OBJECTIVE
or...
While "who" holds the grammatical position of a SUBJECT, "whom" holds the grammatical position of an OBJECT.
Subject = the "doer." Object = the DIRECT OBJECT or the INDIRECT OBJECT or the OBJECT of a preposition...the "do-ee."

THE TRICK:

IF replacing the who/whom in question with HE--simply because it SOUNDS BETTER--use WHO.

IF replacing the who/whom in question with HIM--simply because it SOUNDS BETTER--use WHOM.

IE:
With the question:

To who/whom should I give the "Offed by a Clinton" Award?

Try replacing the space with each, "he" and "him."
Although it's not totally "sensical," the better sounding choice is...

To HIM should I give...

(more clearly, Should I give the "Offed by a Clinton" award to HIM?
SOOOOOooooo...since "HIM" = "WHOM,"

the correct "who/whom-ness" of the question should be:

To WHOM should I give...?

IE:
Who/Whom was the oldest goat in the pool?

Try replacing the space with each, "he" and "him."

It makes much more sense to the ear to replace the who/whom with:

He was the oldest...

than with:

Him was the oldest...

SOOOOOoooooo....since "HE" = "WHO"...

The answer is...WHO was the oldest goat in the pool?


TOPICS: Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: grammar
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I hope I didn't overstep any protocol. I'm sure most know this, but I received interest in this little trick.

If it looks too confusing, just look at "THE TRICK" part of my stuff!

1 posted on 04/30/2003 6:15:29 PM PDT by bannie
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To: BJungNan
A playful "bump"
2 posted on 04/30/2003 6:17:30 PM PDT by bannie (Carrying the burdon of being a poor speller--mixed with the curse of verbosity)
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To: bannie
cool
3 posted on 04/30/2003 6:23:12 PM PDT by fnord ( Hyprocisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue)
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To: bannie
I'll be more concerned about who and whom once we get rid of the much worse confusion of 'him and me' vs 'he and I.' Even the people doing public speaking screw that one up regularly.
4 posted on 04/30/2003 6:24:44 PM PDT by gcruse
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To: bannie
All of my English teachers, all those hours in class.....

and you straighten it all out for me in 20 seconds.

You ARE a great American!!!
5 posted on 04/30/2003 6:25:13 PM PDT by WhiteGuy (MY VOTE IS FOR SALE)
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To: bannie
Much thanks.

Has long been a bugaboo for me.

I never pretended to know grammar labels etc. well.
6 posted on 04/30/2003 6:26:51 PM PDT by Quix
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To: bannie
Its great to see this information on it's own thread. :-)
7 posted on 04/30/2003 6:27:27 PM PDT by willieroe
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To: bannie
Ah yes, and don't forget:

I after E except before C, and E before N in 'chicken'.

Hens "lay" and people "lie".

8 posted on 04/30/2003 6:27:31 PM PDT by yankeedame ("Born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad.")
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To: WhiteGuy
Here, here.
This is a future lesson in reserve!
9 posted on 04/30/2003 6:28:27 PM PDT by netmilsmom (Bush/Rice 2004- pray for our troops)
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To: gcruse
"'him and me' vs 'he and I.' "

Yes, and imagine the problem Sybil has with her multiple personalities.
10 posted on 04/30/2003 6:30:00 PM PDT by John Beresford Tipton
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To: bannie
Your trick seems to work better for statements than questions.

He do you trust?

Him do you trust?

Which is correct?

11 posted on 04/30/2003 6:32:29 PM PDT by CharacterCounts
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To: yankeedame
I after E except before C, and E before N in 'chicken'.

For every time I've seen someone write 'chickne' I'll give you a nickle.

<]B^)

12 posted on 04/30/2003 6:35:02 PM PDT by Erasmus
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To: yankeedame
Yes, but bill lies after he lays.
13 posted on 04/30/2003 6:36:59 PM PDT by pipecorp
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To: CharacterCounts
Since you are using the interrogatory form, you can un-invert the word order and then it becomes clear:

Do you trust him?

vs.

Do you trust he?

14 posted on 04/30/2003 6:38:15 PM PDT by Erasmus
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To: bannie
I don't understand the question.
15 posted on 04/30/2003 6:39:58 PM PDT by Focault's Pendulum (I'm changing my tag line....somebody hand that wrench....no...the other one.)
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To: bannie
Actually, will and shall have always tripped me up...:-)
16 posted on 04/30/2003 6:40:26 PM PDT by Tulsa Brian (What are you looking at?)
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To: bannie
Now do you have any tricks for affect/effect???? I'll often change whole sentences to avoid those words since I'm never really sure.
17 posted on 04/30/2003 6:40:36 PM PDT by not_apathetic_anymore
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To: Erasmus
Great!

So that old TV show "Who Do You Trust" was bad grammar.

18 posted on 04/30/2003 6:41:21 PM PDT by CharacterCounts
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To: yankeedame
Hens "lay" and people "lie".

Here's how I remember the rule:

He: "Let's lie together."

She: "OK. I love you and will be true to you forever. Your turn."


19 posted on 04/30/2003 6:41:32 PM PDT by Erasmus
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To: yankeedame
Hens "lay" and people "lie".

This is true in the present tense. Last week my wife fell and broke her ankle. She LAY on the ground for five minutes before someone came along and found her.

The hen LAID one egg every day last week.
20 posted on 04/30/2003 6:41:56 PM PDT by bastantebueno55
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To: bannie
While we're on this kind of thing, does anyone know the code to remember the planets?
21 posted on 04/30/2003 6:42:44 PM PDT by Conservativegreatgrandma
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To: Conservativegreatgrandma
While we're on this kind of thing, does anyone know the code to remember the planets?

No. But I know the code for the Great lakes: HOMES.

22 posted on 04/30/2003 6:44:44 PM PDT by CharacterCounts
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To: Conservativegreatgrandma
--Men very early made jars stand upright nicely period--
23 posted on 04/30/2003 6:46:06 PM PDT by rellimpank
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To: bannie
Which was the oldest goat in the pool?

A goat is not a whom or a him, sorry.

24 posted on 04/30/2003 6:46:23 PM PDT by Old Professer
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To: Conservativegreatgrandma
My very educated mother just sent us nine pickles.
25 posted on 04/30/2003 6:48:02 PM PDT by So Cal Rocket (God bless the coalition troops and their families)
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To: Conservativegreatgrandma
<While we're on this kind of thing, does anyone know the code to remember the planets?

There was a code??!!?

Crap...I knew that anal probe wasn't just a dream.

I haven't been able to look regularly through my telescope..since.

26 posted on 04/30/2003 6:50:16 PM PDT by Focault's Pendulum (I'm changing my tag line....somebody hand that wrench....no...the other one.)
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To: Tulsa Brian
Actually, will and shall have always tripped me up...:-)

This probably depends on whose style manual you adhere to. Here's the way I was learnt:

When in first person (I/we), shall implies the mere intention to do or be something in the future. Will intensifies that intention. For example, 'I shall go to the store tomorrow' means a simple prediction, whereas 'I will go to the store tomorrow' implies a definite intention and commitment to do so.

When in second or third person (you/he/they), it is reversed. Will is a simple declaration of future action or being, and shall is a statement of definite intent, amounting to an imperative (command) on behalf of the speaker.

I believe the rule given above for the first person case has died due to common usage to the contrary. 'I shall go to the store' now sounds stilted in virtually every context in American English.

27 posted on 04/30/2003 6:50:30 PM PDT by Erasmus
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To: not_apathetic_anymore
You will be right 90% of the time if you use "affect" when you want a verb, and "effect" when you are looking for a noun. There is a verb "effect", but the occasion to use it doesn't arise nearly as often as the verb "affect".
28 posted on 04/30/2003 6:50:35 PM PDT by Rocky
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To: bannie
thanks!
29 posted on 04/30/2003 6:50:55 PM PDT by tje (There is nothing more serious than pleasure.)
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To: bastantebueno55
This is true in the present tense. Last week my wife fell and broke her ankle. She LAY on the ground for five minutes before someone came along and found her.

Oh dear! How many eggs did she leave behind?

30 posted on 04/30/2003 6:51:57 PM PDT by Erasmus
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To: CharacterCounts
Hollywood isn't known for its intelligence.
31 posted on 04/30/2003 6:54:26 PM PDT by Nathaniel Fischer
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To: bannie
The rule is simple: it's the Who, not the Whom whom once wrote "Well, who are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)"
32 posted on 04/30/2003 6:54:48 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Subvert the conspiracy of inanimate objects!)
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To: bannie; dighton; general_re; aculeus
The Germanic word for the dative case, der Wemfall, reflects the der-to-dem change. The question word in the dative is, naturally enough, wem ([to] whom): Wem hast du das Buch gegeben?, Whom did you give book? (Who'd you give the book to?)

http://german.about.com/library/blcase_dat.htm
33 posted on 04/30/2003 6:55:27 PM PDT by Thinkin' Gal
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To: bannie
To whom do we give credit for this?
34 posted on 04/30/2003 6:55:56 PM PDT by doug from upland (my dogs ran from the room when they heard Hillary shrieking on the radio)
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To: rintense
Who do they remind you of?

That's a tricky one, but you nailed it! "Who" is doing the "reminding", not "you".

35 posted on 04/30/2003 6:58:45 PM PDT by Senator Pardek
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To: Erasmus
I after E except before C, and E before N in 'chicken'.

Isn't that supposed to be I before E except after C?
36 posted on 04/30/2003 6:58:53 PM PDT by aruanan
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To: bannie
A whole generation has abandoned "who" and "whom" and simply refer to people as "that." My guess is they went through public schools, taught by semi-literate teachers who, er, that, er, whom, er, which did not have a clue about it him- or herselves.

I don't suppose there's much to be done about it except use words correctly ourselves.

37 posted on 04/30/2003 6:58:58 PM PDT by T'wit
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To: bannie
Maybe you can answer my question. Who is this "noone" guy I keep hearing about. example: I went to the door but noone was there. ;9}
38 posted on 04/30/2003 6:59:19 PM PDT by Ditter
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To: T'wit
Uselves, T'wit - uselves.
39 posted on 04/30/2003 7:00:09 PM PDT by Senator Pardek
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To: Senator Pardek
Try it: "Of whom do they remind you?"
40 posted on 04/30/2003 7:00:55 PM PDT by T'wit
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To: CharacterCounts
No. But I know the code for the Great lakes: HOMES.

Every Good Boy Deserves Favour.

Bad Boys Rape Our Young Girls But Violet Goes Willingly.

J JASON DJ FM AM

That is all.

41 posted on 04/30/2003 7:00:57 PM PDT by Erasmus
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To: bannie
WHO = SUBJECTIVE
WHOM = OBJECTIVE

Subject = the "doer." Object = the "do-ee."

So, let me get this straight.

When referring to Monica Lewinski we should use "WHO" and when referring to Bill Clinton we should use "WHOM"?

42 posted on 04/30/2003 7:01:12 PM PDT by Polybius
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To: willieroe
Its great to see this information on it's own thread. :-)

Yes, it's great to see this information on its own thread. : )

Ahem. : )

I wish to take this opportunity to remind people that there is no such word as "publically". (The word is "publicly".)

43 posted on 04/30/2003 7:01:59 PM PDT by DaughterOfAnIwoJimaVet ("There was abuse in my family; it was mostly musical in nature.")
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To: doug from upland
To that which shall be named as the most affected.
44 posted on 04/30/2003 7:02:39 PM PDT by Snerfling
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To: T'wit
Louie Anderson.
45 posted on 04/30/2003 7:03:05 PM PDT by Senator Pardek
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To: gcruse
confusion of 'him and me' vs 'he and I.'

You have hit upon one of my pet peeves. Most of us, when we were growing up, were constantly corrected by parents and teachers to say "Joe and I" rather than "Joe and me". As adults, even people in the media say things like: "That was a surprise to Joe and I." (For those who never figured it out, remove "Joe and", and then see how it sounds: "That was a real surprise to I." Who talks like that?)

46 posted on 04/30/2003 7:04:15 PM PDT by Rocky
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To: Thinkin' Gal
Now, Thinkin', that's muddying the waters with the indirect objective case, which maps completely onto the objective case in English, but not in German. (i.e., Dative <> Accusative).
47 posted on 04/30/2003 7:04:18 PM PDT by Erasmus
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To: Senator Pardek
I remember a very early self-service gasoline chain in the Dip Suth named "HEP-UR-SEF."
48 posted on 04/30/2003 7:04:42 PM PDT by T'wit
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To: not_apathetic_anymore
I never could keep that one straight. You're not alone.
49 posted on 04/30/2003 7:04:59 PM PDT by DaughterOfAnIwoJimaVet ("There was abuse in my family; it was mostly musical in nature.")
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To: bannie
Recently I have noticed some very good writers using "who" where "whom" should be according to the usual rules. Just yesterday Christopher Hitchens wrote something like (can't find the link) "he saw the fellow who he gave the money to" rather than "he saw the fellow to whom he gave the money."

Lots of people would like to see "whom" go the way of the dinosaurs, I think, and recently it seems editors are looking for ways to restrict usage of the word.

50 posted on 04/30/2003 7:05:33 PM PDT by beckett
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