Who or Whom

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Brien Sz
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Who or Whom

Postby Brien Sz » Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:21 pm

The who/whom dilemma has struck me.
The question is which one to use in the following sentence: The New Testament is full of people about whom/who we know little.

Thank you.

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wdarcy
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Re: Who or Whom

Postby wdarcy » Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:42 pm

In this case, "whom" would be correct. One way to check it is to replace "who" and "whom" with "he" and "him." You wouldn't say "we know about he," you would say "we know about him." So not "we know about who," but "we know about whom." Or putting it in proper order, "about whom we know."

--warren
"Wagner's 'Das Rheingold'" (Oxford 1993). Winner of the Society for Music Theory's Wallace Berry Award, 1995.

"Elements of Sonata Theory" co-authored with James Hepokoski(Oxford 2006). Winner of the Society for Music Theory's Wallace Berry Award, 2008.

Pat James
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Re: Who or Whom

Postby Pat James » Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:44 pm

[quote="Brien Sz"]The who/whom dilemma has struck me.
The question is which one to use in the following sentence: The New Testament is full of people about whom/who we know little.

Thank you.[/quote]
===

Didn't that distinction go away with thee and thou vs you?

I would use who. Folks who are pretentious would use whom.

This is the rule I had in school.
When in doubt, try this simple trick: If you can replace the word with “he”' or “'she,” use who. If you can replace it with “him” or “her,” use whom.

But in cases like this make no sense to help figure out which is right.

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Brien Sz
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Re: Who or Whom

Postby Brien Sz » Fri Sep 08, 2017 8:05 am

I like that, Warren. Never heard it put that way. Makes more sense than anything I can recall ever hearing.

T.A.Rodgers
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Re: Who or Whom

Postby T.A.Rodgers » Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:54 pm

This is one of those areas where it's good to know the rules, but one I choose not to follow. I'm sure Paul will cringe, but I never use whom. I rarely read a novel written today that uses whom. It's just one of those words that seems archaic. When I do see it in a novel it makes me stop reading. I then have to re-read the sentence. This is something I do not want a reader to do while reading my novel. I want them getting through each page as fast as possible. Stopping to re-read something takes me out of the story. :(

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wdarcy
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Re: Who or Whom

Postby wdarcy » Fri Sep 08, 2017 1:22 pm

We could of course eliminate the problem entirely by altering the sentence to:

The New Testament is full of people we know little about.

That sounds more natural to me, and is closer to the way people would actually talk.

--Warren
"Wagner's 'Das Rheingold'" (Oxford 1993). Winner of the Society for Music Theory's Wallace Berry Award, 1995.

"Elements of Sonata Theory" co-authored with James Hepokoski(Oxford 2006). Winner of the Society for Music Theory's Wallace Berry Award, 2008.

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Brien Sz
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Re: Who or Whom

Postby Brien Sz » Fri Sep 08, 2017 2:22 pm

Warren - that sentence was my original sentence but it was pointed out that I should not end my sentence in a preposition for the first sentence of the piece.

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wdarcy
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Re: Who or Whom

Postby wdarcy » Fri Sep 08, 2017 2:39 pm

Oh, I see, Brien. I generally disregard that rule, but if an editor tells you to follow it, of course you should.

But if this is a piece of non-fiction, then I would say "whom" is perfectly okay. After all, non-fiction is generally more formal than fiction.

--Warren
"Wagner's 'Das Rheingold'" (Oxford 1993). Winner of the Society for Music Theory's Wallace Berry Award, 1995.

"Elements of Sonata Theory" co-authored with James Hepokoski(Oxford 2006). Winner of the Society for Music Theory's Wallace Berry Award, 2008.

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Brien Sz
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Re: Who or Whom

Postby Brien Sz » Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:24 pm

It's religious historical fiction.

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wdarcy
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Re: Who or Whom

Postby wdarcy » Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:36 pm

If it's fiction, I would say your original sentence is fine.

--Warren
"Wagner's 'Das Rheingold'" (Oxford 1993). Winner of the Society for Music Theory's Wallace Berry Award, 1995.

"Elements of Sonata Theory" co-authored with James Hepokoski(Oxford 2006). Winner of the Society for Music Theory's Wallace Berry Award, 2008.

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