Okay, I admit it. I love the word whom. I’m an English teacher so I’d better goddamn love that word. It’s a pronoun, innit. It’s also one of those words that isn’t used very often anymore because it tends to make the user sound like a pretentious twat, or like an English teacher, which amounts to the same thing, really…
Many people find the usage of whom to be confusing, so they tend to replace it with the subjective pronoun, who. Whom should always be used with a preposition, such as: about, for, to, etc., and everyone knows the commandment of English grammar usage which states that Thou Shalt Not End a Sentence With a Preposition, right? Well, perhaps not, but ignorance of this rule leads to a lot of incorrect usage.
Example 1: Who are you talking about? This should be written, “About whom are you speaking?”
See? Now isn’t that as lovely and civilised as a Jane Austen novel?
Example 2: Who does this pen belong to? Well, this should really be, “To whom does this pen belong?”
Yeah, that sounds really stuffy. A little too stuffy. I say go ahead and use the first version, though it is technically incorrect. Who cares? The corrected version is approaching pretentious twat territory.
According to the Urban Dictionary, people who use the word whom do so because they are knowingly trying to sound smarter than they really are. When this happens, one should issue a whom alert:
Jim: So Rob, how’s that advanced calculus class going?
Rob: I’m not certain for whom the curriculum was written, but I am definitely far too brilliant to be wasting my time on this tripe.
Jim: That’s it, buddy! I’m calling a whom alert on you!
People who use whom are generally the same people who say, “It is I” instead of “It’s me.” Even I think that sounds self-satisfied and pedantic. Therefore, as an expert in such matters, my advice is to avoid using the word whom and other stuffy words and phrases in normal conversation unless one is an English teacher and/or a pretentious twat that keeps the company of likewise.
Also, one should avoid using the pronoun one in conversation because this also tends to lead one down the path of pretentiousness.
Then again, using one does make one sound like royalty. One agrees.
5 thoughts on “WOTD: whom”
Whilst one agrees the use of whom can be contentious,
I dare say I’ve never met a twat I thought pretentious.
One considered using the phrase “pretentious cunt” instead but one ultimately decided against it. 😉 One understands that some of our gentle readers, whom we hold in the highest respect, may find that word offensive.
One does one’s best.
One most certainly does. (scratches head like Stan Laurel……)
I ❤ the word whom and I use it quite often so phhhbbttttt to those that think it is pretentious
Well there are those for whom one should make exceptions.