Who or Whom

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wdarcy
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Re: Who or Whom

Postby wdarcy » Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:42 pm

[quote="T.A.Rodgers"]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. :([/quote]

Thanks for the tip, Terry. I was editing my first draft today, and I came across my protagonist saying: "I can't say whom she'll talk to about it." Okay, she's a professor of English Literature, so maybe her grammar would be impeccable. But I followed the Terry Rogers rule and changed "whom" to "who." :) Sounds much more natural that way.

I don't want my readers to stop reading either.

--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 3:47 pm

I don't think readers would stop at whom. I certainly never did. The who/whom thing has been around for a long time and is certainly known. With that, I can't imagine readers being stumped by it. Certainly not to the point of, oh my God, what, let me read that again. I can see a long sentence being interpreted like that, or a sentence worded with jargon somewhat awkwardly but if the word 'whom' derails a reader, I think there are other issues to be had.

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pls
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Re: Who or Whom

Postby pls » Fri Sep 08, 2017 4:13 pm

What Brian said. As writers we have a duty to use "correct" English. And as an English teacher, I had a duty to kids to teach them the difference.

With that said, we've about lost the distinction between "lend" and "loan", haven't we? I don't know when the last time was that I heard "lend" used as a verb - or at all.
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wdarcy
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Re: Who or Whom

Postby wdarcy » Sat Sep 09, 2017 11:20 am

My years of academic writing (books, journal articles) certainly made me a stickler for correct grammar. But when it comes to fictional dialogue, I feel we can relax the rules, or even break them once in a while. Same for direct thought and indirect thought. But in the strictly narrative portions of a novel, I would certainly observe correct grammar.

--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.

plughmann
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Re: Who or Whom

Postby plughmann » Sat Sep 09, 2017 3:54 pm

[quote="wdarcy"]My years of academic writing (books, journal articles) certainly made me a stickler for correct grammar. But when it comes to fictional dialogue, I feel we can relax the rules, or even break them once in a while. Same for direct thought and indirect thought. But in the strictly narrative portions of a novel, I would certainly observe correct grammar.

--Warren[/quote]
=========

What grammar is correct? Who determines what is correct? English does not have an academy like the French do who dictate grammar for French.

Doesn't correct grammar change constantly? Should we go by what some English department says? If so which one as they do not all agree. Ditto for those style guidebooks.

Would it not make more sense as writers to use the grammar that most of our readers use rather than some pedantic version that only a few professors prefer?

OTOH we have a generational gap that already impacts communication between kids and older folks. So we do need to slow down the changes in what is accepted while realizing we can not stop the changes that will happen anyway. The question becomes then of which battles should we pick and which ones to accept as having been lost. Who/Whom is IMHO just about settled now with a few holdouts for the use of whom.

How long will it be before the masses make tweet style abbreviations standard?

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Brien Sz
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Re: Who or Whom

Postby Brien Sz » Sat Sep 09, 2017 7:36 pm

Sometimes I wonder if we all think too much...

This is for the back of a book of short stories and a novelette I wrote and will self publish. My audience, I will assume, are those who are interested in religious historical fiction - because that is what it is. I am educationally guessing that the intended audience will have some college education, probably tend to be conservative and probably more to the formal side without being stuffy. With that in mind, I don't think said audience would be thrown off, nor care if I used 'whom' rather than 'who'.

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Re: Who or Whom

Postby plughmann » Sat Sep 09, 2017 8:16 pm

[quote="Brien Sz"]Sometimes I wonder if we all think too much...

This is for the back of a book of short stories and a novelette I wrote and will self publish. My audience, I will assume, are those who are interested in religious historical fiction - because that is what it is. I am educationally guessing that the intended audience will have some college education, probably tend to be conservative and probably more to the formal side without being stuffy. With that in mind, I don't think said audience would be thrown off, nor care if I used 'whom' rather than 'who'.[/quote]


I would bet that nobody would object to your using who. And nobody would object to your using whom. IMHO whom sounds stuffy and overly formal even if it is technically correct.

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pls
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Re: Who or Whom

Postby pls » Sun Sep 10, 2017 10:45 am

And y'all are debating usage and calling it grammar. SMH
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Re: Who or Whom

Postby plughmann » Sun Sep 10, 2017 12:14 pm

[quote="pls"]And y'all are debating usage and calling it grammar. SMH[/quote]


But isn't grammar just whatever usage is 'official' as proclaimed by those claiming to be authorities who can dictate their usage preference is correct?

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ostarella
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Re: Who or Whom

Postby ostarella » Sun Sep 10, 2017 12:18 pm

Grammar is a set of rules devised so people can actually understand what the other people are saying.

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