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Who vs. whom

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What is your opinion about using "whom" in games? Should it be used or should "who" be used everywhere?

I'm asking because I'm not a native speaker and I try to follow the grammar rules as much as possible, but the use of "whom" doesn't always sound right to me and it seems like many native speakers don't even use it.

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I'm asking because I'm not a native speaker and I try to follow the grammar rules as much as possible, but the use of "whom" doesn't always sound right to me and it seems like many native speakers don't even use it.

Unless you like to wear tweed jackets with leather patches on the elbows and hold a teaching position at the University of Oxford, you can generally get away with never using 'whom' and always using 'who.'

Unlike many languages, there is no central government authority in English that decides what correct grammar is. We leave that primarily to people called 'prescriptive grammarians' who like to discuss these things at length in the free time they have because they do not get invited to parties or social events in general.

There are a number of style guides you can choose to use for your writing. "The Elements of Style" by E. B. White and William Strunk Jr. (casually known as 'Strunk and White') says to just relax and use 'who' everywhere, so if that's what you choose to do, you can do that with impunity and cite that as a reference.

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Do people have strong feeling about it? If I use "whom" (assuming I do it correctly) will people react? If I don't use "whom" at all will people react? Or do people in general not care?

Bregma mentioned "tweed jackets" and it's things like that that makes me unsure because it seems like some people think of "whom" as snobbish, but maybe that's only in speech?

I think I will use "whom" because it seems to be the more correct way of doing it. If I change my mind later I can always do an automated find & replace all "whom" with "who".

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Or do people in general not care?


As Stephen said, people in general don't care. "Tweed jackets" refers to professors, not snobs.

But as long as we're on the use of misused terms, I want to rant about "it's" and "its." Most people don't distinguish when writing, and have more uses than you might think for the word "its." Invariably, people write "it's."

"When Frank drove over the divider, his car lost its muffler."

You can't use "it's" in that sentence.

"When Frank drove over the divider, his car lost it is muffler."

That makes no sense! Don't go throwing random apostrophes into the writing of your game.

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I will try to get the apostrophes right. I promise.

I know the difference between "it's" and "its" but it's an easy mistake to make. Both sound the same and it seems logical (if you don't think about other pronouns) to put 's after "it" to form the possessive form because that's how you do it with nouns.

What really confuses me is when you have nouns ending with s, in plural and in possessive form.

So now you have got me thinking (worried) about how I should write my contractions. Should I just go by feel or is there something I should think about?. I often use the contractions for "is" and "not", a bit less often with "are", sometimes with "will" and almost never with "has" and "have". I feel that contractions suit best at the start of sentences. In the middle of sentences I'm not always sure.

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There is "write whatever sounds normal even if it's a bit incorrect" English, and then there's "write exactly correct at all times as if an English professor with a personal grudge against you is grading your writing" English.

Using "whom" is like opting-in to that second category. If you are inconsistent with your proper/casual use of English, the English pedants will come out of the woodwork. Edited by Nypyren

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My policy is to always rephrase sentences to avoid places where "whom" would occur.  "Whom" is in the process of being eliminated from the English language but hasn't quite left yet.  So if you have a sentence that technically ought to have "whom" in it, it sounds wrong whether you use "whom" or "who".

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If you are inconsistent with your proper/casual use of English, the English pedants will come out of the woodwork.

 

But that could be a good thing. If people say it's wrong I can always fix it.

Edited by Wooh

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"write exactly correct at all times as if an English professor with a personal grudge against you is grading your writing"

The problem is what constitutes "correct":  without a central government committee locked in a room and deciding what the correct English language is, it's completely left up to petty tyrants who are no more authoritative than you are yourself, although they have earned the privilege of extra enmity and self-appointed righteousness.  Choose a common published style manual and stick to it if you're concerned about conveying information in a de facto standardized way otherwise just relax and write.

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