Whom...before a preposition.

Fictional

Senior Member
India - Hindi
Hi everyone!

While reading the differences between who and whom, I saw the following sentence:

Whom is an object pronoun and should be used either to replace the object of a verb or before a preposition.

Now, I do understand the first bit of the sentence, the one regarding the object of a verb, but I'm confused about the second part. Shouldn't it be after a preposition instead of before a preposition?


Link: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/arts/exercises/grammar/grammar_tutorial/page_16.htm#whom

Is it a typo on their behalf?
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Yes, they mean 'after', and that part of the advice is correct: we say 'to whom', 'for whom', not :cross:'to who', :cross:'for who'. But they're just plain wrong when they list it under 'common confusions' and suggest you should use 'whom', not 'who', in 'Whom did you see?' Do not follow this advice. Use 'who' here - always in speech and preferably in most forms of writing, at least. There is no need at all to use 'whom' as object of a verb, and it is shocking to see a university perpetuating such outdated, ignorant nonsense.
     

    chfattouma

    Senior Member
    Tunisian Arabic
    to replace the object of a verb or before a preposition.
    As in :
    The man to whom I was talking was asking for directions to the movie theater.

    Note that generally in such examples, the order can change, and the preposition can be positioned after the verb.
    The man whom I was talking to was asking for ditections to the movie theater. ('whom' is the object of the preposition 'to')

    I don't think there's a need for either 'before' or 'after'.
    "to replace the object of a verb or (the object of) a preposition.'
     
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    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    In speech I would also say 'Who did you see?' but, entangledbank, I can see nothing shocking about pointing out that this is technically incorrect. And I do know people who still say 'Whom did you see?'. Outdated (in the UK)? For sure, but correct.
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    The problem with the university-based advice is that it seems to encourage people to say whom when the pronoun is the object of the verb, which is very poor advice. It would have been better to have written can instead of should (unless whom is governed by a preposition).

    I can't speak for ETB, but I get rather irritated when people claim that something is incorrect (whatever that means) when most people say it in (educated) conversational speech. If people want to use whom in this way, it goes without saying that they are free to do so. But they have no right to suggest that to do otherwise is somehow wrong.
     
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    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    If people want to use whom in this way, it goes without saying that they are free to do so. But they have no right to suggest that to do otherwise is somehow wrong.
    Poor advice? I don't think so. It is technically wrong, any grammar will tell you that. People should be made aware of that (there are many natives even who are not, I have to say). As usual, usage has made it right.;) I use it all the time 'in educated conversational speech' as you say, but I am perfectly well aware that it is considered bad grammar.

    PS. I have noticed that many speakers of AE prefer to use 'whom' (and I do not mean only the participants in this particular thread).
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I would keep whom after a preposition for the same reason that I would keep him/her/them/ me/us after a preposition. However, I realise that you (objective or accusative & dative) is universally used in the subjective (nominative) case in preference to the obsolete ‘ye’.

    The use of who/whom is simply a matter of acceptability. In a learned academic speech “The man who I saw you with.” might cause disapproval but in general conversation nobody would consider it abnormal. In a text message, between friends “c u l8r.” [[I will] See you later.] is quite acceptable.

    Once usage reaches a certain point of acceptability, then it is correct and those who oppose it are seen as old-fashioned and dinosaurs.

    Grammarians, etc., often consider themselves to be guardians of language – they are not; they are recorders, who, at best, may comment subjectively upon a usage in the hopes of reflecting a majority view.
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Once usage reaches a certain point of acceptability, then it is correct and those who oppose it are seen as old-fashioned and dinosaurs.
    I agree with that. It is basically what I have been saying: usage makes things correct.;)

    But...... are you saying that our American friends are old-fashioned and dinosaurs because they choose to use 'whom'?:eek: I certainly hope not.;)
     

    Fictional

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi
    Thank you everyone. So, they did made an error by writing before when they should have written after or with a preposition, ​right?
     

    Fictional

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi
    Okay, I just want to put it out there that Bristol University has corrected their mistake. Now the article says 'follow a preposition' instead of 'before a preposition'.
     
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