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.

  • 2
    "Who are neighbours to whom?"
    – Mick
    Dec 29, 2016 at 19:45
  • "... allows us to determine who are whose neighbors" might work.
    – Hellion
    Dec 29, 2016 at 19:46
  • 1
    For a simple question, perhaps "Who has which neighbors?"
    – Hellion
    Dec 29, 2016 at 19:52
  • 1
    @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"?...
    – herisson
    Dec 30, 2016 at 4:01
  • 3
    @Araucaria: If you look at Google Ngram Viewer, "of who" is definitely less frequent than "of whom", but not overwhelmingly so in modern writing.
    – herisson
    Dec 30, 2016 at 4:01

1 Answer 1


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").

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.