the meticulous criminal — who(m) investigators strongly suspected had law enforcement connections

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fetonzio

Member
Brazilian Portuguese
So, I just read this in the New York Times and wondered whether this might be a rare case of them not proof-reading hard enough. The sentence is:

The horrifying moment reflected how the meticulous criminal — whom investigators strongly suspected had law enforcement connections — taunted his pursuers with catch-me-if-you-can brio.

The way I've been organizing this sort of thing in my head is: We use whom when the person is just an object, end of story. So it would be clear-cut in a sentence such as:

He was the criminal whom the investigators hated.

But the sentence in the article is one of those more complicated examples where the person is both an object and a subject. So at the risk of boring you with something you know, my point is that he's not only the person whom they suspect, but also the person WHO has law enforcement connections. Which is why I would have used 'who' if I were the one writing the article. So is my spidey sense betraying me here?
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Maybe it was a subeditor or proofreader who “corrected” it to whom instead of who (perhaps misreading it as “whom investigators strongly suspected of having law enforcement connections …”).
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Yes, "whom" is wrong.
    The investigators suspected that he had law enforcement connections.
    He >> who, not whom.
    It just goes to show that "whom" isn't really part of everyday language any more, except immediately after a preposition.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    This type of "insertion" often creates confusion:D
    The horrifying moment reflected how the meticulous criminal — who (investigators strongly suspected) had law enforcement connections — taunted his pursuers with catch-me-if-you-can brio.
     
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