for who/whom I am

Aimee J.

Banned
French - France
A rather common saying is:

“I'd rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not.”

Should it not be “for whom”?
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Normally it must be 'whom' if it directly follows a preposition. But in this unusual example, 'for whom' sounds wrong. The reason, I think, is that 'for' does not govern 'who', it governs the whole phrase 'who I am'.

    Think about such a phrase where 'who' is subject: 'Who will do the job?' Now put it under a preposition: 'We need to talk about who will do the job.' Here we definitely still need 'who', because it is still the subject of the verb.
     

    Aimee J.

    Banned
    French - France
    I have only ever heard “for who” in this case. However, I know that it would sound weird but so does “it was he” compared to the more common “it was him” to many native English speakers.

    If someone wanted to be very formal, in the case I have used wouldnthe correct version of the saying be “whom” since it is after the preposition “for”?
     

    Englishmypassion

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi
    However, the traditional rule is that a preposition should be followed by an object pronoun.

    For him, for us, etc.
    And another, here more important, rule is that when the pronoun is a referent to a subject, it should be "who", not "whom".

    By the way, EB has already said above that in this case, the preposition doesn't govern only the pronoun but the whole clause beginning with "who". He has given another example to illustrate that situation.
     

    Aimee J.

    Banned
    French - France
    And another, here more important, rule is that when the pronoun is a referent to a subject, it should be "who", not "whom".

    By the way, EB has already said above that in this case, the preposition doesn't govern only the pronoun but the whole clause beginning with "who". He has given another example to illustrate that situation.
    Can the two “rules” conflict?
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    They don't in fact conflict, because the 'for whom' rule can't apply: 'who' has already been assigned its case inside the smaller phrase. Only 'who' is grammatically possible. (But I'm sure you will find a few examples in writing where someone has looked at it, then chosen to apply the 'for whom' rule, without thinking of whether it's possible to say it.)

    Note that 'who I am' is an independent relative clause: it has a relative pronoun that is not attached to an antecedent noun. But it is equivalent to one: 'the person who I am'. You can think of 'for' as assigning object case to 'the person' in the main clause, and 'am' as assigning subject* case in the relative clause.

    * 'Who' isn't actually subject, but as we say 'Who am I?', it takes the subject case.
     

    Aimee J.

    Banned
    French - France
    Where has “who” been assigned its case? Which “smaller phrase”?

    I am confused now. When is the objective case after a preposition ignored?

    Can you link me to any sources about this matter?
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    (1) The main clause: I'd rather be hated for who I am
    (2) An expansion of it using a normal relative clause: I'd rather be hated for the person who I am
    (3) The smaller phrase inside both of them (a relative clause): who I am

    In the clause (3), the word 'who' gets its case from being the complement of 'am': we say 'Who am I? Who is she? Who are they?'

    In (2), 'for' assigns case to its following noun phrase 'the person'. 'For' doesn't assign to 'who', which is doing its job in (3). It assigns to the noun phrase that is its antecedent. In (1), this is hidden, but the same thing happens. We can analyse it as an empty (silent) object, in object case, which is the antecedent to 'who'.
     

    Aimee J.

    Banned
    French - France
    (1) The main clause: I'd rather be hated for who I am
    (2) An expansion of it using a normal relative clause: I'd rather be hated for the person who I am
    (3) The smaller phrase inside both of them (a relative clause): who I am

    In the clause (3), the word 'who' gets its case from being the complement of 'am': we say 'Who am I? Who is she? Who are they?'
    I have read that the complement of a preposition always takes the objective case e.g for whom or to whom.

    So is the rule that the word after a preposition does not necessarily have to be in the objective case as long as it is not the complement of the preposition?

    In (2), 'for' assigns case to its following noun phrase 'the person'. 'For' doesn't assign to 'who', which is doing its job in (3). It assigns to the noun phrase that is its antecedent. In (1), this is hidden, but the same thing happens. We can analyse it as an empty (silent) object, in object case, which is the antecedent to 'who'.
    I can't find any information on the use of an empty (silent) object. What is the precise name to describe such a thing?

    Can you think of any other examples of the subject case being used directly after a preposition in a sentence?
     

    bennymix

    Senior Member
    [Aimee asked (post #13),

    Can you think of any other examples of the subject case being used directly after a preposition in a sentence? ]
    -------------------------------


    Entangled gave the rules. The complement of a preposition will be a noun, noun phrase, or (if immediately following) objective case pronoun.

    Thus, "I feel sorry for him." but
    {{"I feel sorry for [he who violates this rule]." }}** The case of pronouns within a phrase depends on the construction within the phrase.

    Referring to a king who was assassinated: "I feel sorry for the man who killed him."
    ----

    ADDED: **This example is corrected & replaced, as follows:

    "I feel sorry for whoever violates this rule."
     
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    Forero

    Senior Member
    I have read that the complement of a preposition always takes the objective case e.g for whom or to whom.

    So is the rule that the word after a preposition does not necessarily have to be in the objective case as long as it is not the complement of the preposition?
    One rule is that when who(m) is the the object of a preposition and that preposition precedes it, it must have the m.
    Another rule is that when who(m) is not an object (direct, indirect, or of a preposition), it must not have the m.

    By the way, who is not just subject case (for subjects only), as me is not just object case. In particular, they both work for the complement of a linking verb (e.g. "I am me", "Who I am is Forero").
    I can't find any information on the use of an empty (silent) object. What is the precise name to describe such a thing?

    Can you think of any other examples of the subject case being used directly after a preposition in a sentence?
    A relative clause beginning with what can be used as a noun phrase. A relative clause beginning with that can be used to modify a noun or pronoun. A relative clause beginning with who, whom, or which can be used either way.

    Whom is used not to show the function of the relative clause (as a noun phrase, or as a modifier) but to show the function of the pronoun within the relative clause.

    I hope this helps.
    "I feel sorry for [he who violates this rule]."
    This should be "I feel sorry for him who violates this rule." The object of "for" is "him who violates this rule", in which "who violates this rule" modifies "him"; the subject of "violates" is "who".
     
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    bennymix

    Senior Member
    [...]This [bennymix's example] should be "I feel sorry for him who violates this rule." The object of "for" is "him who violates this rule", in which "who violates this rule" modifies "him"; the subject of "violates" is "who".
    Point taken. I have corrected the example I gave in post #14.

    An example that fits Aimee's request for subjective case after a preposition is this:

    "I feel sorry for whoever violates this rule."
     

    SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    A rather common saying is:

    “I'd rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not.”

    Should it not be “for whom”?
    No, not really. To see what's going on, consider a couple of things:
    (1) There's a relative clause that's been reduced (made "shorter") by omitting the relative pronoun "that" and the antecedent "the person." The full sentence becomes I'd rather be hated for the person that I am, than loved for the person that I am not.

    (2) The void left by the reduced relative clause is then filled by "who," a pronoun logically connected with the person encoded in "I." That's how we get I'd rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not. This sort of reduction happens rather intuitively; it's very unlikely that the speaker started by saying "first, I'm going to add a relative clause; then, I'm going to reduce it." It's just how things are.

    So, who is not the object of the preposition "for" (in other words, "for" doesn't govern "who"). Who is the pronoun that stands in for the relative pronoun "that" which was omitted when the relative clause was reduced.

    There's reduction too in I feel sorry for him who violates this rule, but things aren't quite the same as in your example. Here, it should be "him" because "him" is the object of the preposition "for." But "him" is not the antecedent of "who;" the antecedent is found in the relative clause that's been reduced: I feel sorry for him, the person who violates this rule.

    There are additional things to add:

    It is I is "prescriptivism," where the sentence structure is modeled after Latin grammar.
    It is me is "Standard English" (by "standard" I mean that this is simply how people talk, who intuitively know that English isn't Latin).

    Prepositions assign case; what this means is that "whom," "him" and similar pronouns are used when they are "governed" by prepositions. This is for whom? (question showing incredulity); This is for him.

    Whenever the pronoun whom is separated from its governing preposition, whom commonly becomes who, particularly in speech. This is what usually happens when "whom" moves to the front of a relative or interrogative clause. The man who we spoke to came by today (The man whom we spoke to came by today); Who did you vote for? (Whom did you vote for?) He wanted to know who I voted for (He wanted to know whom I voted for). This transformation of "whom" to "who" upsets people who follow prescriptive grammar (they always use "whom"), but this transformation is part of English syntax; it's how language works. If you move the preposition to the front as well, then "whom" becomes the natural choice, because now the governing preposition and the pronoun appear next to each other: The man to whom we spoke came by today; For whom did you vote?
     
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    Forero

    Senior Member
    Good explanation, SevenDays.
    There's reduction too in I feel sorry for him who violates this rule, but things aren't quite the same as in your example. Here, it should be "him" because "him" is the object of the preposition "for." But "him" is not the antecedent of "who;" the antecedent is found in the relative clause that's been reduced: I feel sorry for him, the person who violates this rule.
    I just have to take exception to this, if I understand what you are saying. Your interpretation seems to assume a comma after "him", but in "I feel sorry for him who violates this rule", the relative clause is essential and it defines "him" rather than being in apposition to "him", and "him" just means "anybody", not "the male person already mentioned".

    (EDIT: I meant apposition, not opposition.)
     
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    SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Good explanation, SevenDays.I just have to take exception to this, if I understand what you are saying. Your interpretation seems to assume a comma after "him", but in "I feel sorry for him who violates this rule", the relative clause is essential and it defines "him" rather than being in opposition to "him", and "him" just means "anybody", not "the male person already mentioned".
    My comma reflects a pause that inevitably appears when you have a full relative clause. The reduced relative clause doesn't have this pause (or at least the pause is minimal) so that the relative clause becomes "essential" in nature (and perhaps that's a good reason to go with the reduced version).
     

    bennymix

    Senior Member
    My comma reflects a pause that inevitably appears when you have a full relative clause.

    No pause in my area of AE-- northeast US and Canada-- not in the case of a defining/restricted clause.

    The man-that-I saw-yesterday came to visit me, today. Counterexample (unless I've misread you).
     

    SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    My comma reflects a pause that inevitably appears when you have a full relative clause.

    No pause in my area of AE-- northeast US and Canada-- not in the case of a defining/restricted clause.

    The man-that-I saw-yesterday came to visit me, today. Counterexample (unless I've misread you).
    I should've said a pause that appears "for me," in my usage, for the example in question.
     

    ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    The sentence contains an omission (ellipsis): "I'd rather be hated for (being] the person who/that I am..." "I feel sorry for whatever person who/that violates..." (in my interpretation and as previous posters have said).
     
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    Forero

    Senior Member
    I'd rather be hated for [being] who I am, than loved for [pretending to be] who I am not.

    The first who can be thought of as "the person that". Unlike that, but like what, who does not have to have a noun to modify.

    But the second who is then "any person that", not "the person that".
     
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