Category: Who / Whom / Whoever / Whomever

We the People, or…?

Posted on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, at 11:00 pm

For much of the last two months, we have been analyzing why the subject pronouns I, he, she, we, they and the object pronouns me, him, her, us, them are chronically misused and confused. In this final installment, we'll deal with flawed sentences like Politicians should respect we the people and It's a happy outcome …

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Two More Reasons Pronouns Plague Us

Posted on Tuesday, October 6, 2020, at 11:00 pm

For several weeks now, we’ve been counting the ways that pronouns give us nightmares. Today we’ll look at two more culprits: infinitives and verbs that end in -ing (known technically as participles and gerunds). To form an infinitive, precede a verb with the word to. The infinitive of look is to look. Constructions like to …

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Shape-shifting Troublemakers

Posted on Tuesday, September 8, 2020, at 11:00 pm

No nouns in our language behave like pronouns. The most common subject pronouns (I, he, she, we, they, who, whoever) all become different words (me, him, her, us, them, whom, whomever) when they are objects. Colloquial English has always thumbed its nose at proper English. A seemingly innocent everyday sentence like It’s me is Exhibit …

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I Subject, Your Honor

Posted on Tuesday, August 25, 2020, at 11:00 pm

In past discussions of who-whom and whoever-whomever, we passed along a handy memory aid: who (and whoever) = they; whom (and whomever) = them.* That's fine as far as it goes, but it goes nowhere unless we can tell a subject (they) from an object (them). One reason that distinguishing between subjects and objects is …

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Picking Proper Pronouns: Part I

Posted on Tuesday, September 3, 2019, at 11:00 pm

Many of us have been there before: We're writing or speaking with confidence in our content. For a secret second, we might even feel, well, educated. Then, unbeknownst to us, improper pronouns leak in and sabotage the impression we were making. Worse yet, we may not know how or why our eloquence tripped. Using the …

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Whoever vs. Whomever Revisited

Posted on Tuesday, January 16, 2018, at 7:15 pm

In the "English Rules" section of our website, GrammarBook.com, you will find our simple explanation for determining whether to use who or whom. Briefly, this is the trick: who = he (subject pronouns) whom = him (object pronouns) Example: Who/Whom is at the door? He is at the door. Example: For who/whom should I vote? …

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Year-End Quiz 2017

Posted on Tuesday, January 9, 2018, at 12:01 pm

Review is good for retention. That’s why GrammarBook.com likes to start the new year with a jumbo quiz that spans the last twelve months of topics we’ve covered with you. In 2017 we explored an array of ways to enhance your grammar and writing. We hope what you learned follows you well into 2018 as …

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Whoever Would Use Whomever: Read On

Posted on Tuesday, December 12, 2017, at 11:31 pm

Two weeks ago we discussed Americans’ odd fondness for whom. It’s a word that few really understand, but it just sounds so darned cosmopolitan. If we’re infatuated with whom, we’re over the moon about whomever. You hear it everywhere. People love saying it—right or wrong. Just recently, a major American newspaper ran a headline that said “… whomever …

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Whom Abuse Is Rampant

Posted on Wednesday, November 29, 2017, at 9:17 am

To continue our series on who, whom, whoever, and whomever, today we bring you a Tom Stern classic from September 2013. Consider the humble pronoun. It seems that fewer and fewer Americans know when to say “she” or “he” or “me” instead of “her,” “him,” or “I.” It used to be that little Gloria would run home and …

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Whoever vs. Whomever

Posted on Wednesday, November 8, 2017, at 11:36 am

In the "English Rules" section of our GrammarBook.com website, and in our blog post Who vs. Whom, you will find our simple explanation for determining whether to use who or whom. Briefly, this is the trick: who = he (subject pronouns) whom = him (object pronouns) Example: Who/Whom is at the door? He is at the door. Example: For who/whom should I vote? …

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Who vs. Whom

Posted on Wednesday, October 25, 2017, at 3:36 pm

Let's crack the code for who and whom. It is easier than you might imagine. The following are informal methods rather than rules; however, they really work! Rule: Use who when you could replace it with he. Example: Who/whom is standing by the gate? We would say, "He is standing by the gate." So who is correct. Example: Gail wished she knew who/whom won. Gail …

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Year-End Quiz 2015

Posted on Tuesday, December 15, 2015, at 2:31 pm

To close out 2015 we have put together a comprehensive pop quiz based on the year’s GrammarBook.com grammar posts. The quiz comprises twenty-five sentences that may—or may not—need fixing. Think you can fix the ones that need help? You’ll find our answers directly below the quiz. Each answer includes, for your convenience, the title and …

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Rules and Preferences

Posted on Tuesday, September 16, 2014, at 1:09 pm

There were fervent protests from readers reacting to “Old Superstitions Die Hard.” The article established that the relative pronoun that refers to people as well as to things and has done so for centuries. Never was an essay more aptly named. “I don’t care what all of your quoted sources say,” wrote a fiery businesswoman. …

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Old Superstitions Die Hard

Posted on Tuesday, September 9, 2014, at 4:15 pm

People that try hard usually succeed. Is that sentence grammatical? Some nitpickers say the relative pronoun that should never refer to humans. Here is an interesting piece of mail that arrived recently: Please review your “rule” about the use of “who” and “that” when referring to persons. The use of “that” when referring to people …

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We the People, or…?

Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013, at 6:54 pm

For much of the last two months, we have been analyzing why the subject pronouns I, he, she, we, they and the object pronouns me, him, her, us, them are chronically misused and confused. In this final installment, we’ll deal with flawed sentences like Politicians should respect we the people and It’s a happy outcome …

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