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Whom do I speak to / To whom do I speak

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Pitt, Nov 6, 2008.

  1. Pitt Senior Member

    Germany
    German
    Hi everybody!

    I'd like to know if both sentences are correct:

    1. Whom do I speak to if I have a problem?
    2. To whom do I speak if I have a problem?

    Thanks for helping me!
     
  2. miss sparkles

    miss sparkles Senior Member

    Pennsylvania, USA
    English-USA
    #1 is more informal than #2, but both are indeed correct. Actually, I would say, "Who do I speak to if I have a problem?" even though that is not technically correct.
     
  3. So would I, miss sparkles. I agree entirely.

    Rover
    x
     
  4. Nymeria Senior Member

    Barbados
    English - Barbadian/British/educated in US universities blend
    I say, "To whom should I speak?" or "Who would be able to help me with that?"
     
  5. icyblaze Junior Member

    dominican republic
    french,spanish,creol
    I would raher say (To whom should I speak to)
     
  6. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I think (1) is incorrect.

    To whom do I speak? :tick: (very formal)
    Who do I speak to? :tick: (informal)
    Whom do I speak to? :cross:
     
  7. Nymeria Senior Member

    Barbados
    English - Barbadian/British/educated in US universities blend
    I agree with Loob.

    "Whom do I speak to?" is not correct.

    It is either
    "To whom do I speak?"
    or
    "Who do I speak to?"

    icyblaze, "To whom do I speak to" is not correct. Two "to"s is too many "to"s there. :)
     
  8. Cagey post mod

    California
    English - US
    This sentence seems correct to me. It may be unlikely that the same person who uses the object case (whom) will also separate it from its preposition (to).

    However, I know of no rule that prohibits the use of the object case if a pronoun does does not immediately follow its preposition. Perhaps you have a reference? :)
     
  9. Waterdash Senior Member

    English (US)
    I am afraid you guys are all wrong (except for Cagey who probably posted while I was still writing this post).

    If you apply the he/him method, so that:
    he = who
    him = whom

    You would say:
    I speak to him if I have a problem.

    Not:
    I speak to he if I have a problem.

    Hence, it is:
    Whom do I speak to if I have a problem?

    It's a common mistake, I would know. I make this mistake all the time. :)

    Also, I know why you guys would say who do I speak to since it's easier and sounds better, yet proper grammer rules state that it is whom.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2008
  10. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Eeek, erm, aaargh!!!

    Will "that's the way I was taught" suffice?
    No, I thought not:D

    The only references I have found use the word "normally".

    Thus here
    and Michael Swan's Practical English Usage:
    If I find anything more dogmatic, I'll post it:p
     
  11. kitenok Senior Member

    While Loob is busy looking for something more dogmatic, the rest of us can while away the time by reading a hundred previous threads on who vs. whom here. ;)

    Since I didn't post in any of those threads, I'll throw in my two cents now: The very rigid whom-as-object-pronoun rule as Waterdash cites it is not only merely dead, it's really most sincerely dead. Use of whom as a direct object or immediately after a preposition is formal, often optional, and becoming archaic.
     
  12. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Well said, kitenok, on the number of previous threads. I don't recall one that treats the specific subject of whether "whom ... to" is as acceptable as "to whom", but that could be because of my failing memory/lack of energy. (To go through all those threads would be an exhausting task. A fact which takes us into a range of issues about popular topics...).

    I'm not quite so sure I agree that use of whom after a preposition is "formal, often optional, and becoming archaic". If I put the preposition before the interrogative, I find myself obliged to use whom rather than who: to whom:tick: to who:cross:

    That said, I usually put the preposition after the interrogative, so the issue doesn't arise.
     
  13. Cagey post mod

    California
    English - US
    I'd settle for "normally" or "usually". ;)

    My objection was to calling "whom do I speak to" a grammatical error.
     

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