A Short Missive on “Whom”

 

To Who It May Concern

I am not a violent man. But I have had it up to here!

I can’t stand it anymore. I want to invite every reader to join me in a conspiracy to commit murder.

It has insinuated itself into our lives. Eating away at our brains. Putting us on the defensive, chipping away at our self-esteem, confusing us into pointless pauses, enslaving us into just trying to get it right.

And to what purpose?

Admit it. You were looking at the salutation of this post and thinking about it, weren’t you?

I speak of whom.

Why, why, why, why, why, why?

Who grew up speaking it without special education? Who comes upon it naturally in daily speech? Who did this to us?

Let’s face it. The quadratic equation is rare but particularizes something useful. Hegemony is a rare word but distinguishes something useful. The Pythagorean Comma is rare but occasionally it’s useful, for a few specialists.

What use is whom? What real difference has it ever made? Yeah, yeah, it distinguishes the object from the subject in a sentence, but who friggin’ cares?

When has there been a real lack of clarity when it’s missing in common usage?

Sure, you can construct an example sentence to show a possible ambiguity, but who would say such a thing? By who would it be said?

Let’s murder it now, together, and bury it in the backyard, wrapped in lime and dissolved in acid. No more whom. No more pauses in deciding what the proper form of who is. No more pauses each time we come across it, trying to decide if it was used correctly. No more “Oh, by the way, that should be whom.”

Let’s be assassins. Let’s stake this grammatical vampire in its academic black heart.

Die, die, die, die, die, haunted thing that should have decayed centuries ago!

Published in Humor
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  1. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    The Knights of Elements of Style incoming in 3 … 2 … 1 …

    • #1
  2. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I’m pretty sure this is satire. It says so in the tags. :-) 

    It’s really easy to know whether “who” or “whom” is called for in a sentence. Just substitute “him” (thus “whom”) or “he” (thus “who”). :-) 

    • #2
  3. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    I think you’re making a big deal over nothing here.  I mean, c’mon – whom cares?

    But semicolons – semicolons should be eradicated from the face of the earth.  Now that is a big deal…

    • #3
  4. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    I think we should subject people who say “comprised of” to summary execution. 

    • #4
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    I think you’re making a big deal over nothing here. I mean, c’mon – whom cares?

    But semicolons – semicolons should be eradicated from the face of the earth. Now that is a big deal…

    No no no no! I love semi-colons! I used to fight with my husband over their use. When he finally realized the correct way to use them (which means I won), he began to appreciate them. Anyone who would like an explanation of the correct way, let me know.

    • #5
  6. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Philistine.

    • #6
  7. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    I think you’re making a big deal over nothing here. I mean, c’mon – whom cares?

    But semicolons – semicolons should be eradicated from the face of the earth. Now that is a big deal…

    Sorry to disagree with you, Doc, but I love semicolons; I use them all the time.

    • #7
  8. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    Anyone who would like an explanatin of the correct way, let me know.

    Oh, for the love of Pete, no…

    • #8
  9. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Susan Quinn (View Comment)

    I love semi-colons! I used to fight with my husband over their use. When he finally realized the correct way to use them (which means I won), he began to appreciate them. Anyone who would like an explanatin of the correct way, let me know.

    I use them, but the name semi-colon always seems redolent of an accident in the alimentary system.

    • #9
  10. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    As if that is not bad enough, now you have to make sure you don’t say “ze” when you mean “zir”.

    • #10
  11. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Semicolons? Semicolons you say?

    I am no fan of John Irving save in this one regard: I appreciate his bold, even flamboyant, defense of the semicolon — and even of its use in combination with the dash in the same sentence.

    Love our language. Use all of the punctuation (and most of the words).

     

    • #11
  12. MWD B612 "Dawg" Member
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    I’ve given up on keeping the subjunctive alive. I will not yield one more inch!

    • #12
  13. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    I am no fan of John Irving save in this one regard: I appreciate his bold, even flamboyant, defense of the semicolon — and even of its use in combination with the dash in the same sentence.

    He needs to use more periods.

    • #13
  14. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

     

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    I’ve given up on keeping the subjunctive alive. I will not yield one more inch!

    A visitor to Boston asked his taxi driver, “Where can I get scrod around here?” The educated taxi drive replied, “Buddy, I’ve heard that question a thousand times, but this is the first time I’ve heard it in the pluperfect subjunctive!”

    • #14
  15. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

    The English teacher left Macy’s after taking her son to see Santa Claus. On the streets they saw a few people dressed as Santa, ringing bells.

    The confused child asked, “Mom, we saw Santa in Macy’s. Why are they dressed like Santa?”

    She replied, “Oh, darling, those are Santa’s subordinate Clauses.”

    <groan>

    • #15
  16. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

    C’mon! This is a fun thread. Where are all the Post Likes?

    We need more English teacher jokes. (Writer jokes allowed as well.)

    • #16
  17. OkieSailor Member
    OkieSailor
    @OkieSailor

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    I think you’re making a big deal over nothing here. I mean, c’mon – whom cares?

    But semicolons – semicolons should be eradicated from the face of the earth. Now that is a big deal…

    No no no no! I love semi-colons! I used to fight with my husband over their use. When he finally realized the correct way to use them (which means I won), he began to appreciate them. Anyone who would like an explanation of the correct way, let me know.

    No thanks, I LIKE mis-using them; so just leave it be, OK?

    • #17
  18. OkieSailor Member
    OkieSailor
    @OkieSailor

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    As if that is not bad enough, now you have to make sure you don’t say “ze” when you mean “zir”.

    Not I, having never used either one, nor will I ;>)

     

    • #18
  19. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Mark Alexander (View Comment):

    C’mon! This is a fun thread. Where are all the Post Likes?

    We need more English teacher jokes. (Writer jokes allowed as well.)

    My Mom was an English teacher.  And a brilliant writer.  She would have loved this thread.

    • #19
  20. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    “For zoom the bell tolls, It tolls for ze.”

    • #20
  21. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

     A classic.

    • #21
  22. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    I think you’re making a big deal over nothing here. I mean, c’mon – whom cares?

    But semicolons – semicolons should be eradicated from the face of the earth. Now that is a big deal…

    No no no no! I love semi-colons! I used to fight with my husband over their use. When he finally realized the correct way to use them (which means I won), he began to appreciate them. Anyone who would like an explanation of the correct way, let me know.

    In college I worked at a pizza shop with a guy named Colin. We all called him “Semi.”

    That’s all I got.

    • #22
  23. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    I am sure our often faulty grasp of punctuation would be substantially ameliorated if more people would listen to Victor Borge’s comments on the matter.

    Phonetic Punctuation

     

    • #23
  24. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    In my latest novel, one of the characters irritates people with correcting the incorrect usage of “who” and “whom” . . .

    • #24
  25. GeezerBob Coolidge
    GeezerBob
    @GeezerBob

    Mark Alexander (View Comment):

    C’mon! This is a fun thread. Where are all the Post Likes?

    We need more English teacher jokes. (Writer jokes allowed as well.)

    Well, like, what do you expect?

    • #25
  26. OkieSailor Member
    OkieSailor
    @OkieSailor

    Stad (View Comment):

    In my latest novel, one of the characters irritates people with correcting the incorrect usage of “who” and “whom” . . .

    Then he is stabbed twenty seven times, rigghhttt?

    • #26
  27. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

    GeezerBob (View Comment):

    Mark Alexander (View Comment):

    C’mon! This is a fun thread. Where are all the Post Likes?

    We need more English teacher jokes. (Writer jokes allowed as well.)

    Well, like, what do you expect?

    I expect wit, tomfoolery, jocularity, badinage!

    • #27
  28. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):
    But semicolons – semicolons should be eradicated from the face of the earth. Now that is a big deal…

    Take it away, @kentforrester!

    Django (View Comment):

    I think we should subject people who say “comprised of” to summary execution.

    Just as long as it is summary execution of whomever deserves it, and is comprised of dozens of lashings by a wet noodle.

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    No no no no! I love semi-colons! I used to fight with my husband over their use. When he finally realized the correct way to use them (which means I won), he began to appreciate them. Anyone who would like an explanation of the correct way, let me know.

    I think I’ve got it; thanks very much, though.

    MWD B612 &quot;Dawg&quot; (View Comment):
    I’ve given up on keeping the subjunctive alive. I will not yield one more inch!

    If only that were true.  But I suspect it’s not.

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):
    He needs to use more periods.

    Sexist.  Or perhaps, transphobic.

    Mark Alexander (View Comment):
    She replied, “Oh, darling, those are Santa’s subordinate Clauses.”

    This is a sentence, which is funny.

    Mark Alexander (View Comment):
    I expect wit, tomfoolery, jocularity, badinage!

    And, hopefully, merry persiflage.  After all, whom doesn’t enjoy a bit of merry persiflage, every now and then?

     

    • #28
  29. Caryn Thatcher
    Caryn
    @Caryn

    She (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):
    But semicolons – semicolons should be eradicated from the face of the earth. Now that is a big deal…

    Take it away, @ kentforrester!

    Django (View Comment):

    I think we should subject people who say “comprised of” to summary execution.

    Just as long as it is summary execution of whomever deserves it, and is comprised of dozens of lashings by a wet noodle.

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    No no no no! I love semi-colons! I used to fight with my husband over their use. When he finally realized the correct way to use them (which means I won), he began to appreciate them. Anyone who would like an explanation of the correct way, let me know.

    I think I’ve got it; thanks very much, though.

    MWD B612 &quot;Dawg&quot; (View Comment):
    I’ve given up on keeping the subjunctive alive. I will not yield one more inch!

    If only that were true. But I suspect it’s not.

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):
    He needs to use more periods.

    Sexist. Or perhaps, transphobic.

    Mark Alexander (View Comment):
    She replied, “Oh, darling, those are Santa’s subordinate Clauses.”

    This is a sentence, which is funny.

    Mark Alexander (View Comment):
    I expect wit, tomfoolery, jocularity, badinage!

    And, hopefully, merry persiflage. After all, whom doesn’t enjoy a bit of merry persiflage, every now and then?

     

    Um…who.

    • #29
  30. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Caryn (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):
    But semicolons – semicolons should be eradicated from the face of the earth. Now that is a big deal…

    Take it away, @ kentforrester!

    Django (View Comment):

    I think we should subject people who say “comprised of” to summary execution.

    Just as long as it is summary execution of whomever deserves it, and is comprised of dozens of lashings by a wet noodle.

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    No no no no! I love semi-colons! I used to fight with my husband over their use. When he finally realized the correct way to use them (which means I won), he began to appreciate them. Anyone who would like an explanation of the correct way, let me know.

    I think I’ve got it; thanks very much, though.

    MWD B612 &quot;Dawg&quot; (View Comment):
    I’ve given up on keeping the subjunctive alive. I will not yield one more inch!

    If only that were true. But I suspect it’s not.

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):
    He needs to use more periods.

    Sexist. Or perhaps, transphobic.

    Mark Alexander (View Comment):
    She replied, “Oh, darling, those are Santa’s subordinate Clauses.”

    This is a sentence, which is funny.

    Mark Alexander (View Comment):
    I expect wit, tomfoolery, jocularity, badinage!

    And, hopefully, merry persiflage. After all, whom doesn’t enjoy a bit of merry persiflage, every now and then?

     

    Um…who.

    LOLing out loud.

    • #30