not one of whom can be trusted to cross a road in safety.


Senior Member
Hi, in the following sentences, from “I’m a stranger here myself” by Bill Bryson, why the author has used "whom"? It seems that he should use "them" instead of that. Am I thinking or not? Thanks.

New Hampshire is a friendly, well-ordered, prettily steepled community with a ..., and a rich and prestigious university, Dartmouth College, ..., an air of privileged endeavor, and the presence of five thousand students, not one of whom can be trusted to cross a road in safety.
  • Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    If you had an independent sentence beginning "Not one of...", then "them" would be correct.
    But here you have a relative clause; it needs the relative pronoun "whom" to refer back to its antecedent in the other clause: "students".
    "Them" is possible, with re punctuation "...five thousand students; not one of them can be...."
    It creates an independent clause. The way it stands looks grammatical to me, since 'who' is glaringly wrong as object of preposition. But one could re write for 'who', "...five thousand students, who--not one of them--cannot be trusted to cross...."

    cross posted with Cenz
    Last edited:
    < Previous | Next >