Friday, June 08, 2007

Who or whom: who cares?

Do you know when to use "who" and when it should be "whom"? If you're not sure, you might like to test yourself:

Roger introduced me to a plumber xxxxx, I felt, was trustworthy.

At the party I met a woman xxxxx I really liked.

The bloke xxxxx said that was clearly a cretin.

xxxxx would you like to take to the ball?

If you got them all right (who, whom, who, whom), you can feel bit smug. But I'm afraid it won't do you a lot of good. Because I'm pretty sure that, along with the apostrophe, whom will have disappeared from all but the most learned written English 10 years or so now.

Why? The usual reason. It's bit fiddly, it sounds old-fashioned and it doesn't really serve any useful purpose. "Who would you like to take to the ball?" just sounds more like a normal person talking; and, almost always when we write persuasively, that's the effect we're aiming to achieve.

I wonder if there's anyone out there to whom what I say is sacrilege?


At 3:46 pm, Blogger Chris Thurling said...

Yes, there father!


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