Monday, February 5, 2007

The Death of Whom

Is the word whom disappearing? It seems like people use who in all cases now. Although it's grammaticaly incorrect to use who in the objective case, eventually "whom" likely won't be with us. Does anyone think "whom" is dying? Will the objective case soon cease to exist for the word whom? Are copy editors the last line of defense against "whom's" demise? When do you think its time to let "whom" or other grammatical phenomenon die?

3 comments:

Pat said...

I think I will ask the grammar king, my friend Michael LaGory, to respond to this.

While we're waiting, here are a few thoughts of my own. We are almost as obsessed with the death of things—like God, grammar, and monogamy—as we are with our own mortality. People have probably been talking about whom's demise for decades, if not centuries; yet it is still there in the phrases "to whom it may concern" and "for whom the bell tolls." It's like a piece of music that everyone knows but sings only on special occasions—"Auld Lang Syne," for example.

Let's be revolutionary and use whom whenever we can; at the least, we'll get people's attention. If they say, "Why are you saying that?" we can say, "That's what the Grammar Guerillas say."

chi said...

I have always admired people who use "whom" in the correct sentence. I wish I had learned Nurnberg's method earlier in my life but I'm making up for it by applying it to random sentences and sharing the information with my friends. :)

Pat said...

Ack, let me revise my last sentence: If they ask, "Why are you saying that?" we can reply, "That's what the Grammar Guerillas say." Four instances of say does not a good sentence make.

And let me comment on Chi's comment: it's never too late to start doing something correctly; you go, Chi!