Whom, RIP

Whom has died after a lingering illness, reports John Merrow.  “Whom, of Latin origin, leaves no immediate survivors. A sole sibling, Whomever, passed away many years earlier.”

Whom’s recent years were difficult, friends say. The final blow came when Twitter chose Who over Whom to fill the prestigious slot, “Who to Follow.”

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  1. cranberry says:

    Whom survives in our family. Happy to report it’s alive and well in our younger generation. Hangs out often with its buddy, the subjunctive mood.

  2. Ruth Joy says:

    It may linger yet in To Whom It may concern.

  3. “Whom” is not of Latin origin.

    • GoogleMaster says:

      Not directly, but both dictionary.com and merriam-webster.com mention Latin.

      m-w whom entry:
      Middle English, from Old English hw?m, dative of hw? who

      m-w who entry:
      Middle English, from Old English hw?; akin to Old High German hwer, interrog. pron., who, Latin quis, Greek tis, Latin qui, relative pron., who

      • GoogleMaster says:

        I’m not gonna fix that. The character that was replaced by a question mark is an a with a macron over it.

  4. Roger Sweeny says:

    I’m happy to see “whom” gone. As far as I’m concerned, the purpose of grammar rules is to make the speaker’s meaning clear. The who/whom distinction never did that.

    Before Johny Carson did The Tonight Show, he hosted a quiz show called, “Who Do You Trust?” A promo had people arguing that it should be “Whom Do You Trust?” Pointless. Pointless.

    • Roger Sweeny says:

      To paraphrase someone, a language should be as complicated as it needs to be, but no more.

  5. Michael E. Lopez says:

    There’s a difference between being “dead” in the sense of not being a part of everyday speech (I’m not a prescriptivist about language) and being “dead” in the sense that not even the not-so-super-secret club of educated people who look down on the ignorant masses care about it anymore.

    Whom is more in the former category. There are still plenty of people who will toss your cover letter for a who/whom error.

  6. cranberry says:

    Merrow’s piece is meant to be funny. I wouldn’t cite Twitter as a sign of literate culture.

    Twitter seems to be moving away from sentences or phrases to collections of hashtags.

  7. Googlemaster – Mentioning Latin in connection with the English word “whom” makes no more sense than mentioning Sanskrit or Hittite.