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Whom versus who

(12 Posts)
toldmywrath Fri 19-Apr-19 17:20:39

I'm reading a book translated into English.
There is a sentence which grates
"His look reminds her of an actor, but she can't think whom."

Is whom grammatically correct?

toldmywrath Fri 19-Apr-19 17:21:06

Thanks for reading. smile

DadDadDad Sat 20-Apr-19 14:50:34

I think it might work grammatically, because the "whom" is the indirect object - so "who" goes with "he", "of whom" would go with "of him", as in "she thinks it reminds her of him".

It might work better as "..., but of whom she can't think", but that grates a bit too because who talks like that?!

Even if it's grammatical, it's definitely a bit jarring, and "whom"/"who" seems to be dying as a distinction. Would anyone really bat an eyelid at "..., but she can't think who"? Surely, you could just say:

"His look reminds her of an actor, but who that is she can't think."

SenecaFalls Sat 20-Apr-19 15:03:00

I would use "who" because I would treat it as short for an unfinished clause "who that is".

Dad is right that the distinction is fast dying out in English. I tend to use what sounds most natural, unless in formal writing.

DramaAlpaca Sat 20-Apr-19 15:06:54

I would use 'who' for the same reason as Seneca, and also because 'whom' sounds clunky & old fashioned.

DadDadDad Sat 20-Apr-19 15:27:06

Well, this is a bit boring - we all basically agree! grin

toldmywrath Sat 20-Apr-19 16:37:11

Thanks all. I think who sounds better.
It's a book translated from Swedish and as it's a first edition hardback I might email the publisher.
Not just because of this, but they've used another word completely out of context.
Ah, the pedant in me is very satisfiedgrin

MillicentMartha Sat 20-Apr-19 16:39:36

‘She can’t think of whom,’is fine, though, if a bit formal sounding.

toldmywrath Sat 20-Apr-19 16:40:16

For completeness, they are talking about a hospital dept which acts as a "sluice" to decide whether the patient needs to be seen by a consultant, physio etc.
I think "conduit", or similar, would be better.

DramaAlpaca Sat 20-Apr-19 23:12:55

Yes, 'conduit' would be more appropriate in that context. 'Sluice' isn't right at all.

MillicentMartha Sat 20-Apr-19 23:29:36

Maybe channel or route?

Standandwait Tue 23-Apr-19 11:15:25

Whom is correct here, but it would have solved the problem of formality to say "which" instead. As in "which one."

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