Which is correct? Whom v. Who

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by benlee, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. benlee macrumors 65816

    benlee

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    #1
    Johnny, you should think about who you want to serve as your attorney.
    Johnny, you should think about whom you want to serve as your attorney.

    ????
     
  2. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #2
    I believe it's the second. In your sentence "whom" is fulfilling the object position in the sentence.
     
  3. exabytes18 macrumors 6502

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    #4
    Whom. I forget all the rules, but I'm pretty sure you use whom with prepositions.
     
  4. tobefirst macrumors 68040

    tobefirst

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    #5
    I'm sure you mean "prepositions." :) Propositions are entirely different. d-:
     
  5. David G. macrumors 65816

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    #6
    Just remember to vote NO!
     
  6. hookem12387 macrumors 6502

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    #7
    Just remember, who is a subject and whom is an object. From there you're set.
     
  7. atlanticza macrumors 6502a

    atlanticza

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    #8
    Quite right. Whom is used when it is the object of a preposition ("To whom it may concern") or verb ("The man whom we saw last night") or the subject of a complementary infinitive ("The person whom we took to be your father"). Who is used on all other occasions. [Penguin Reference Books]

    Now is it...
    boldly to go
    to go boldly
    to boldly go?
     
  8. atlanticza macrumors 6502a

    atlanticza

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    #9
    Its or it's?

    Probably the most common mistake posted in forums (and possibly in the English language at large) is the "its or it's" issue. Its is the possessive form of it: "Put each app in its place".

    It's is the contraction of it is: "It's a good app".

    And here endeth the lesson d:)
     
  9. me_94501 macrumors 65816

    me_94501

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    #10
  10. sheperdcohen macrumors newbie

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  11. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #12
    I still don't really get it, or what you mean by subjective and objective in this case, but I'm content with not understanding grammatical rules, as long as the more idiotic errors like "its" and "it's" aren't made. :)
     
  12. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #13
    Exactly, good citation, or maybe just remember Hemingways's "For Whom The Bell Tolls"; shepherdcohen also puts it well.

    As for "boldly to go", a bit of artistic licence may apply. Grammatically, strictly, or, dare I say, technically, the infinitive (to go) should not be split; however, it sounds better, when declaimed aloud, when it is split in this particular instance.

    Re its, its', and it's, oh yes, that is a recurring problem. One of many. I'm a teacher - of history, and politics - among other hats which I've worn, and spelling errors in essays, assignments really annoys me. I'm more tolerant of exam papers; they are normally written under considerable stress). More recently, I've had trainee teachers unable to distinguish between "principle" and "principal" in assignments; heaven help them when writing letters seeking employment thus addressed.

    (These days, most computers have spell check functions, and a lot of the students cannot even be bothered to click on the relevant key before submitting an assignment. More than once, I was even instructed by my then head of dept (who was slightly dyslexic himself, and possibly a bit sensitive on this point) to ignore spelling and grammar entirely, as the papers I graded were supposed to examine the students' grasp of politics. Fair enough. However, I'd argue that written English is supposed to be a common language of communication, and I expect (hoping that it is not too much to expect) that students will have mastered the ability to express themselves clearly, in plain prose.

    Cheers.
     
  13. benlee thread starter macrumors 65816

    benlee

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    Mar 4, 2007
    #14
    Unfortunately, I assume for many of us, the time when we were "supposed" to be learning correct written english was not a time when we were eager to learn.

    When I was in middle school and grade school I felt pressured to do well on exams and had no real eagerness to learn much beyond that. In addition, some of my teachers were not great at teaching it or by the time I did get competent teachers it was too late. I used to quickly study for word definition exams in the 5 minutes before the exam and would score well. However, I don't think I learned one definition.


    Luckily, I stay within my bounds (most of the time). Also, I'm writing much more now than I ever had and thus am looking for ways to improve.
     
  14. macmama macrumors regular

    macmama

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    #15
    The awesome Patricia T. O'Connor says:

    link

    I'd recast the sentence to avoid the "whom" issue entirely. ;)
     
  15. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #16
    I'm an idiot. I read the thread, and just realized what a preposition was. It's something that goes before the position of something. I guess if it the word 'preposition' was pronounced "pree - position", I would have been able to guess. :eek:


    Since we're discussing grammar, can someone tell me whether I should use single quotation or double quotation marks when I quote someone? (single: ' , or double: ")

    When I entered high school, I think I used single quotation marks, but later switched to double quotation marks for nearly everything. I think the English use single quotation marks, while Americans use double. Not sure.
     
  16. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #17
    When quoting someone you would use the double (") quotation mark, at least in American English. Single quotation marks (') are used when quoting speech within speech. E.g. Frank said, "George said 'I will see you at 9:00.'"
     
  17. atlanticza macrumors 6502a

    atlanticza

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    #18
    Single quotation marks are used for the first quotation; double for a quotation within this; single quotation marks for a further quotation inside that. But let's hope we never get there!
     
  18. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #19
    Thanks for coming to a consensus. ;)
     
  19. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #20
    It's a clumsy sentence anyway, because the prospective attorney is both the object of "want" and the subject of "to serve". If you say "whom", then technically you risk making the "serve" into a transitive verb, keeping "you" as the subject, i.e. "whom do you want to serve (drinks or a subpoena) to".

    "Johnny, you should think about choosing an attorney" would be much better.
     
  20. L.A.Red macrumors newbie

    L.A.Red

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    Aug 23, 2008
    #21
    A simple way to remember
    I like this

    Now lay and lie will stop me in my discoursive tracks.
     
  21. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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  22. Melrose macrumors 604

    Melrose

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    Dec 12, 2007
    #23
    That's a good trick to remember. I'm usually pretty good about guessing which one 'sounds' right, but it's good to have a hint ready. There's a couple little tricks like that in grammar, I've found.. Thx :)
     
  23. cristo macrumors regular

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    Aug 16, 2008
    #24
    By whom? :D
     
  24. spamdumpster macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 22, 2008
    #25
    I gotta disagree. I think that "there", "their", "and they're" is the most common mistake. And it drives me nuts.

    The it's/its thing doesn't bother me too much because I think it's sometwhat reasonable for people to think that "its" should have an apostrophe because possessives (other than possessive pronouns) always have apostrophes.
     

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