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Temporary reopen note:

This question may appear at first blush to be about whether to use who or whom. However, the naturalness and grammaticality of this phrase has to do with the periphrastic genitive versus the saxon genitive, not whether to use nominative or accusative case. For this reason this is both a useful question and not a duplicate of the linked-to post here:


The Question:

Just to give a few details: I am writing an answer to an exercise, the exercise describes arranged objects, I want to state that the provide information allows one to deduce what are the neighboring objects.

How do I say it in one sentence - "who are the neighbors of who?" It does not sound correct to me...

I would appreciate if someone could point out if this is correct and would be grateful if there is a way to break this down or compare with similar language construction to help get familiar with this type of sentences.

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    "Who are neighbours to whom?" – Mick Dec 29 '16 at 19:45
  • "... allows us to determine who are whose neighbors" might work. – Hellion Dec 29 '16 at 19:46
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    For a simple question, perhaps "Who has which neighbors?" – Hellion Dec 29 '16 at 19:52
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    @Araucaria: "After a preposition there usually is no choice, we have to use whom." There are enough exceptions to that statement that I would not teach it as a general rule. In phrases like "knowledge of who was in the film" "whom" is actually impossible since the pronoun is not the object of the preposition, despite coming after it. Also, I wouldn't say "whom" is required in questions that don't use fronting, like "Have you ever heard of him?" "Have I ever heard of who"?... – sumelic Dec 30 '16 at 4:01
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    @Araucaria: If you look at Google Ngram Viewer, "of who" is definitely less frequent than "of whom", but not overwhelmingly so in modern writing. – sumelic Dec 30 '16 at 4:01
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It would be "who are the neighbors of whom" because though who and whom come from the same root word, "who" is properly used as a subject (like "I", "he", or "she") and "whom" is used properly as an object (like "me", "him", or "her").

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