To whomever

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Sarp84224

Senior Member
Hindi
I came across as this on a website:

“A noun clause as an indirect object

Besides a direct object, a sentence can also have an indirect object. This is usually the person the verb talks about. A noun clause can be used here too.

For Example: I will give the prize to whomever arrives first at the finish line. In this sentence our main subject and predicate are ́I will. ́ The subject and verb of our noun clause are ́whomever’ and ́arrives. ́ Our noun clause is ́whomever arrives first at the finish line. ́ It takes on the form of subject+verb+complement. When the words who or whoever are the object in the sentence they are always written with an m, so whom and whomever. In this sentence the subject and the relative pronoun are the same.”

I’m sure “to whoever” is the right choice because in the relative clause he/she arrives first at the finish line, not him/her.
 
  • Sarp84224

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    And that website is? (apart from being one to avoid)
    Ask Rosea, Rosario English Area.

    Ironically, isn’t the sentence ‘whomever arrives first at the finish line. ́ subject + verb + complement? Even though someone has used an object pronoun.
     

    tunaafi

    Senior Member
    English - British (Southern England)
    Ironically, isn’t the sentence ‘whomever arrives first at the finish line. ́ subject + verb + complement? Even though someone has used an object pronoun.
    I will give the prize to whoever arrives first at the finish line.

    'Whoever' is both the object of the preposition 'to' and the subject of the verb 'arrives'/
     

    Englishmypassion

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi
    Here is the example in the WR dictionary:
    She was gracious to whomever she spoke.
    whomever - WordReference.com Dictionary of English
    I'm afraid you're mistaken here. In the dictionary example you quote, "whomever" refers to the person/persons to whom she spoke, i.e. they (people referred to by "whomever") are objects and she is the subject. In the dictionary example people referred to by "whomever" are spoken to (they are objects), while in the OP "whoever" is the subject of "arrive."
     

    Sarp84224

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    'Whoever' is a right choice, not the right choice. 'Whomever' is also correct, though it does sound dated, as it always does these days.

    Here is the example in the WR dictionary:
    She was gracious to whomever she spoke.
    whomever - WordReference.com Dictionary of English
    The example in the WR dictionary is not the same. “Whomever” is the right choice there because she spoke to him/her.

    In my original sentence “whoever” is the right choice because it is the subject of the relative clause “whoever arrives...”
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Ah, I see what you mean. Yes, you are all right in that. Still, in both sentences 'whomever' is in object position in respect of the preposition 'to' so its use is justified, if not particularly fashionable :) The easiest way to check is to replace it with 'him' (him = whom and they even sound similar)

    I will give the prize to whomever arrives first at the finish line. I will give the prize to him. :tick:
    She was gracious to whomever she spoke. She was gracious to him. :tick:
     

    Sarp84224

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    Ah, I see what you mean. Yes, you are all right in that. Still, in both sentences 'whomever' is in object position in respect of the preposition 'to' so its use is justified, if not particularly fashionable :) The easiest way to check is to replace it with 'him' (him = whom and they even sound similar)

    I will give the prize to whomever arrives first at the finish line. I will give the prize to him. :tick:
    She was gracious to whomever she spoke. She was gracious to him. :tick:
    “Whomever” is not a choice to use because it’s not the object of the preposition on its own, the whole relative clause is the object of the preposition. Yes, “I’ll give the prize to him” is correct, but that is not how it’s worded in the original sentence. The subject “whoever” is the subject of the verb “arrives” in the relative clause (he/she arrives).
     

    tunaafi

    Senior Member
    English - British (Southern England)
    The easiest way to check is to replace it with 'him' (him = whom and they even sound similar)
    That's one way. Another is to replace 'who(m)ever' with 'the person who(m)'

    I will give the prize the person who arrives first at the finish line. :tick:
    I will give the prize the person whom arrives first at the finish line. :cross:
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    “Whomever” is not a choice to use because it’s not the object of the preposition on its own, the whole relative clause is the object of the preposition. Yes, “I’ll give the prize to him” is correct, but that is not how it’s worded in the original sentence. The subject “whoever” is the subject of the verb “arrives” in the relative clause (he/she arrives).
    That's one way. Another is to replace 'who(m)ever' with 'the person who(m)'

    I will give the prize the person who arrives first at the finish line. :tick:
    I will give the prize the person whom arrives first at the finish line. :cross:
    I agree with all that and I also know that this is the prevalent view. You are both right. *

    Still, if I remember right, in some older grammar books the 'object position' is seen as sufficient grounds to use an object pronoun.

    * And generally, I do not recommend such uses of 'whomever'.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    As the OED puts it so succinctly
    Misused for whoever as subject of relative clause preceded by a preposition.
    And for london calling
    literary.

    The objective case of whoever pron.; as direct object, or object of prep. (Less frequent than whomsoever pron.)
    The observation "literary" is worth noting. I've gone over 70 years without ever using "whomever", but I think I've given "whomsoever" the occasional outing.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I don't see anything in that article to change my view, boozer: whoever = the person who, whomever = the person whom.
    That said, the sooner "whom" finally dies, the better:cool:.
     
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    tunaafi

    Senior Member
    English - British (Southern England)
    When a single word functions as a subjcct in one clause and an object in another, as in your example, boozer, there than be no universally accepted 'correct' answer.

    Whoever arrives first will win. Subject in both clauses. Only 'whoever' is correct
    I will pick who(m)ever I see first. Object in both clauses. 'Whomever' though many these days would use 'whoever. is correct,
    I will pick who(m) ever comes first. Object in one clause, subject in the other. Aarrgghh!
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    For me, the "correct" grammar is not important. I can accept "Whomever Trump nominates will inherit the investigation".

    However, since whomever is not used very often, I prefer whoever in this sentence.
     
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    Sarp84224

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    “Whomever Mr. Trump nominates will inherit that investigation.”

    Trump will nominate him/her.

    Why is “whomever” not right in that sentence?

    Edit: the author actually admitted that it is grammatically correct.

    “Readers who are still awake at this point may have noticed that Whitman’s first example follows the same structure as the Times’s “Whomever Trump nominates will inherit the investigation.” I now concede that it is right and I was wrong.”
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    There's nothing grammatically incorrect about using "whoever" in that sentence. I don't know about AE, but "whomever" is rarely, if ever, used in BE. Grammar describes usage. It doesn't prescribe it.
     

    Sarp84224

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    There's nothing grammatically incorrect about using "whoever" in that sentence. I don't know about AE, but "whomever" is rarely, if ever, used in BE. Grammar describes usage. It doesn't prescribe it.
    You're right that “whoever” is the word used most of the time, but in that sense “whomever” is the correct and formal choice.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    No, it is not "the correct and formal choice". It is a possible choice for people who speak a different version of English from the one I speak. As far as I'm concerned it's wrong. As I've already said in this thread, I have never used "whomever".
     

    Sarp84224

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    No, it is not "the correct and formal choice". It is a possible choice for people who speak a different version of English from the one I speak. As far as I'm concerned it's wrong. As I've already said in this thread, I have never used "whomever".
    Let’s not go there. :D
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    “whoever arrives first at the finish line” is the object of the preposition “to”.
    Some would agree with your reasoning.

    I don't, but only the other day I noticed a very famous and talented American writer using just such a construction, with "to whomever (does something)". I get the impression that it's quite common in AE, though in BE hardly anyone uses "whomever" anyway (outside of legal parlance), so the question doesn't really arise.
     

    Sarp84224

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    Why not, Sarp?
    I agree with Andy: "Whomever Trump nominates will inherit the investigation" is not 'the correct and formal choice' in 21st century English.
    Because some people on this forum disagree with formal prescriptive grammar.

    Each to his or her own.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I rather suspect that the majority of people on this forum disagree with formal prescriptive grammar when it conflicts with what people actually say or write.
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    "Whomever Trump nominates will inherit the investigation" is not 'the correct and formal choice' in 21st century English.
    I agree, too. The addition 'in 21 century English' is the whole reason why I said it is not necessarily completely straightforward. Some people will still use 'whomever' when in object position after a preposition and there is strong and logical grammar reasoning behind that (despite the fact that OED sees this as a misuse). I often agree with prescriprive grammar rules, but here there is a strong case for using 'whomever' when in object position.

    Which is not to say I myself would use 'whomever' like that.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Re post 37. Actually, my point was a different one, boozer: I'd say there's a strong case for avoiding "whomever". I can parse sentences containing "whomever" till the cows come home - but I'm pretty sure that, like Andy, I never actually use it.
     

    Sarp84224

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    In any case, there is no person or institution recognised to decree what is 'correct'.
    That’s off-topic and divisive because some people adhere to prescriptive grammar and some people adhere to descriptive grammar. Just leave it.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    I will adhere to prescriptive grammar of English on the day when somebody tells me which worldwide authority has the right to prescribe it. No authority lower than the United Nations General Assembly need apply. :)

    But to stay on-topic, In the seventy years I have been speaking English, I have never used the word "whomever" and I'm not at all sure I've ever heard or seen it used either, outside this forum. It's a dead horse Sarp, flog no more.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    This grammar text gives a very good explanation on whomever/whoever: Whoever vs. Whomever | Grammar Rules

    Whoever vs. Whomever


    Also note that "wrongly" is the wrong word. The word you want is "incorrectly" or "erroneously". "Wrongly" applies to morality issues primarily. (American English).

    I was wrongly accused. (I was accused of something for which I am not blame-worthy.)
    I was incorrectly accused. (I was accused of something based on false information.)
     
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