Friday, October 12, 2012

It's the Object of the Sentence!

When I taught freshman composition, my students could earn bonus points by bringing in a clipping or a photograph of a grammatical error in print, along with their explanation of the error. Here's what I found in our local newspaper this week:

When the interrogative pronoun is the object of the preposition, the correct word choice is "whom." To self-correct, pretend that you're instead using a personal pronoun--would you use "she," which designates the subject of the sentence, or "her," which designates the object?

To make it even simpler, replace the interrogative pronoun with a personal pronoun and pick the version that sounds correct:

  • Vote for she? OR
  • Vote for her?
If you can remember that "who" is the same as "she" and "whom" is the same as "her," then you'll know that the correct wording is--
Vote for whom?

And yes, there ARE some other grammatical issues with that particular sentence, sigh.

3 comments:

Teresa Robeson said...

Oh, that's one of my pet peeves. If I had a dollar for every time someone misuses the nominative versus objective case, I'd be able to buy a vacation home in Vancouver.

I admit to making mistakes sometimes in more complex and convoluted sentences that involve the use of who/whom, but, good gravy, I get to urge to throttle people when they say things like, "Mother talked to John and I" or "John and me went to the store." The former case happens more. I think people think that they sound more sophisticated when they say "so-and-so and I" even when it's completely wrong.

julie said...

My freshmen, in particular, simply had never learned all the grammar that a person needs to be able to speak and write correctly. When I actively taught it, many (not all!) students were able to apply it at least to their writing. Back then, I attributed it to cuts in public schools that meant that many of my students had never studied a foreign language (foreign language study is SO great for cementing grammar concepts!); now that I've homeschooled for a while, I attribute it to the fact that many students have never studied a foreign language, and many have never studied grammar beyond the most basic concepts.

Teresa Robeson said...

Scott has said that many of his students are terrible writers...I can only imagine what you have to endure actually trying to teach the language mechanics.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails