I had this phrase "the person whom I granted freedom" in something I wrote; a friend maintains that it must be "the person to whom I granted freedom."

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    That one is also correct, but it's the relative clause formed from I granted freedom to the person, rather than what you wrote, which is the relative clause formed from I granted the person freedom (i.e, with the dative alternation, but without to, though you could also strand the preposition to at the end, if you wanted to -- it adds nothing in any event). Apr 15, 2014 at 1:15
  • It's General Reference that it "should" be whom here. But some people never use it any more. On the other hand, those who use it at all will almost certainly get it right in this specific context, because of the giveaway preposition to (which they would normally expect to be present). Apr 15, 2014 at 1:15
  • @FumbleFingers - I don't think he's asking about who/whom but about whether it's OK to omit the "to". I agree that one would normally expect "to" to be present.
    – Lynn
    Apr 15, 2014 at 1:49
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    No, whom is allowed, but not required. Who works just as well, "technically". But traditionalists will always say that whom is preferred, which is false. Some prefer it (they do), but many don't bother with it at all. Apr 15, 2014 at 2:45
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    @Lynn,John: I don't use whom very often in general, and in OP's exact context I might not even bother with who either (I'm quite comfortable with just "the person I granted freedom [to]"). But if I'm going to use either who or whom in this type of construction I would usually precede it by to - and if I did that, I would be much more likely to follow it with whom rather than who. My point is that the presence of the preposition calls attention to the fact that it's an object rather than subject. That nudges me into a "correct" usage which I otherwise largely ignore. Apr 15, 2014 at 12:07

1 Answer 1


"The person to whom I granted freedom" seems natural to me. Or "The person whom I freed".

"...whom I granted..." grates on my ear; it sounds as if you are about to give the person to someone else.

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