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I've just got wondering if this sentence is grammatically correct:

You are who I love.


This is what I am thinking:

Let's focus on the who clause, then you can find that the missing element from this clause is actually an object after the verb love. Therefore, who should be changed to whom, which is an object relative pronoun.

  • You are whom I love.

Now, the whom clause has no problem, but you can see that whom clause works as an object. However, there is the place at which a subject complement should be. So, I should either change the whom clause back to a who clause or make you into an object.

  1. You is whom I love.
  2. It's you whom I love.
  3. Whom I love is you.

After all that, I came this far with these three sentences and I think the most appropriate sentence is the second one, but I'm not sure if my assumption is right; the way I fixed the sentence, is it right?

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    1 and 3 are ungrammatical. 2 is grammatical, but it's not a "fix" either, merely a rewording. Any sentence at all can be reworded. Language is flexible like that. There's many ways to skin a cat. There are many ways to skin a cat. There's more than one way to skin a cat.
    – RegDwigнt
    May 19, 2015 at 9:40
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    The most appropriate sentences are 4. I love you. or 5. You're the one I love. These avoid the need for the largely obsolescent 'whom' (though (2) is just about bearable; however, more idiomatic would be It's you that I love.). It's you I love. is another workaround. May 19, 2015 at 9:41
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    Also, I think "you are whom I love" is actually more likely than "you are who I love", though for reasons of articulation (Sandhi) rather than grammar.
    – RegDwigнt
    May 19, 2015 at 9:42
  • I don't understand your sentence However, there is the place at which a subject complement should be. Can you explain what you mean, please :) May 19, 2015 at 10:20
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    @Araucaria Thanks. I've just found it here, http://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/subject-complements.
    – hjjg200
    May 19, 2015 at 12:29

1 Answer 1

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The original is probably eliding a word.

I think this works:

You are she whom I love.

'are' is a linking verb here; 'whom' is introducing an appositive phrase and is the object of 'love'. What's missing in the original is the predicate pronoun ('she', 'he', etc.).

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  • Sounds stilted to me. The form whom is stilted, unless it immediately follows a preposition. Apr 12, 2020 at 8:44
  • Tim Osborne is right. What we say is of course "You are the one that I love."
    – Deipatrous
    Dec 3, 2021 at 8:10

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