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In the following sentence, should I use WHOMEVER or WHOEVER?

I don’t want whomever it is to see that I’m a woman alone.

Or should it be:

I don’t want whoever it is to see that I’m a woman alone.

The first option makes more sense grammatically, though the second sounds better to me.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

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    Related question, “Whoever” Vs. “Whomever”. Your two example sentences are exactly same.
    – user140086
    Jan 28, 2016 at 9:14
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    @MoniqueH When a fronted pronoun is predicative complement, as it is in your example, it is always nominative, i.e. “whoever”.
    – BillJ
    Jan 28, 2016 at 10:09
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    @BillJ well I understood 15 of your words, so only 4 more for me to go figure out !
    – k1eran
    Jan 28, 2016 at 20:46
  • @aparente001: I don't see how this is answered by the linked post. It says "Swap in he-vs-him on things like this to see which one works right: you would never say *him is writing it, so it cannot be whomever." But we can say "It is him"; nevertheless,"whomever it is" is incorrect. It's an exception to the rule described in that answer post.
    – herisson
    Dec 21, 2017 at 18:51
  • @sumelic - Sigh. Sorry. Voted to reopen. Dec 22, 2017 at 13:58

1 Answer 1

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As BillJ said in a comment, it should be "whoever". This is actually a case where the usual rule of thumb that people teach for choosing between "who(ever)" and "whom(ever)" will lead you astray.

Even though nowadays, we usually say "it is him/her" instead of "it is he/she", the latter was considered to be "correct" grammar at one point. Because of this, "whom" is not used for a predicative noun phrase (at least, not in a finite clause—infinitive and gerund clauses are more tricky).

In other words, "whom(ever)" is not used as the complement of words like "is", "was", "are", "were".

For example, even though we would often say "It's me!" "It's him!" "It's her!", we don't say "Whom is it?" That would be considered incorrect. We say "Who is it."

Your example is similar—in "whoever it is", "whoever" plays the role of the predicative complement of the copula "is". The correct sentence is therefore

I don’t want whoever it is to see that I’m a woman alone.

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