Whomsoever - was it used incorrectly?

Sarp84224

Senior Member
Hindi
I have just been listening to an interview between a journalist and John Mayor.

During the interview, Major said:

“And whomsoever had been Prime Minister would have found they fought back very fiercely.”

Is the word “whomsoever” used correctly? I don’t think so and I think he should have said “whoever” because someone would say “he/she had been Prime Minister”. Am I right?
 
  • Sarp84224

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    Is the verb “whoever” agreeing with the verb “had”?

    Whoever had
    He had
    She had
    Etc.

    Or is “whomever” agreeing with the verb “been”? I don’t think “whoever been” makes any sense.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    "Whoever" is not a verb, it's a pronoun, and it's the subject of the verb.
    There is no question of "agreement" here.
    The verb is not "had" or "been", it is "had been".
     

    Sarp84224

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    "Whoever" is not a verb, it's a pronoun, and it's the subject of the verb.
    There is no question of "agreement" here.
    The verb is not "had" or "been", it is "had been".
    I know “whoever” is the pronoun, but does it agree with the verb “had” or the verb “been”?What do you mean that it is neither but “had been”? There are two separate verbs.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    I know “whoever” is the pronoun, but does it agree with the verb “had” or the verb “been”?What do you mean that it is neither but “had been”? There are two separate verbs.
    No - that is what is confusing you :( There are two words but it is "one verb" that cannot be considered as "two separate verbs". You might wish to review the definition of auxiliary verb - WordReference.com Dictionary of English
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It's the past perfect tense of 'to be':

    I had been
    You had been
    He/she/it had been
    We had been
    You had been
    They had been


    One verb, one tense, two words.

    Edited to correct a typo.
     
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    Truffula

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    (heypresto is fixing the typo)

    Past Perfect Tense

    The part of a perfect tense that agrees with a pronoun is always the auxiliary form of "to have"

    Not that past tense verbs change to agree with their subjects! So there's no real question of which verb 'whomsoever' was supposed to agree with anyway. The actual thing you need to know is whether it's the subject or object of the verb: 'who' is used for subject and 'whom' is for object.

    As Edinburgher explained above already.

    These days, few people bother to use 'whom' at all so a lot of the time those who try to, use it wrong.
     
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    Hildy1

    Senior Member
    English - US and Canada
    In a sense there are two verbs, but they go together to form the past perfect tense of "to be", as heypresto and Turffula say. So "had been" is one verb. It agrees with the subject, which as you point out, should not be "whomsoever". Either "whoever" or the more emphatic "whosoever" would be correct.

    [Edit: Typo corrected: "whomsoever" is the incorrect form.]

    From the WR dictionary (bolding added by me):
    In English the perfect tenses, like the present perfect and the past perfect, are formed with some form of the verb have followed by the present or past participle of the main verb.
    perfect tenses - WordReference.com Dictionary of English
     
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    Sarp84224

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    In a sense there are two verbs, but they go together to form the past perfect tense of "to be", as heypresto and Turffula say. So "had been" is one verb. It agrees with the subject, which as you point out, should not be "whosoever". Either "whoever" or the more emphatic "whosoever" would be correct.

    From the WR dictionary (bolding added by me):
    In English the perfect tenses, like the present perfect and the past perfect, are formed with some form of the verb have followed by the present or past participle of the main verb.
    perfect tenses - WordReference.com Dictionary of English
    Did you mean not be “whomsoever”?
     
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