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May I ask if the following sentence sounds right or if I would be better off rewriting it?

Stockpiles of weapons were found in the building of the staff members who worked there - one of whom was later caught attempting to smuggle some of the guns out in the boot of his car.

The part I'm particularly concerned about is the 'one of whom was later caught'. It doesn't seem to sit right with me for some reason; is there a better way to word it? I'm basically just trying to say that one member of a group got busted. Thank you.

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    It's grammatically fine. It's just that 'whom' is being ousted by 'who' in most cases, but after a preposition it is still the preferred form. / Does 'in the building of the staff members who worked there' make sense? – Edwin Ashworth Jan 28 '17 at 23:29
  • I agree with @EdwinAshworth, 'in the building of the staff members who worked there' doesn't seem to make sense. What does 'the building' mean? The building they own? The building they live in? And where is 'there'? (I assume there must be context in other sentences) – shakeypress Jan 29 '17 at 6:35
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The sentence is grammatically fine, but has redundancy. In this part, "the building of the staff members who worked there ", the first 'the' assumes specificity which is fine, but the second 'the' can be eliminated which will make the speech more in-flow. Coming to redundancy, staff members ARE the people who work there. It is implicit. When this redundancy is eliminated the pronouns, 'who' and 'whom' don't oust.

I think it needs rewording.

This

"Stockpiles of weapons were found in the building of the staff members who worked there - one of whom was later caught attempting to smuggle some of the guns out in the boot of his car."

can be written as

Stockpiles of weapons were found in the staff members' building, one amongst whom was later caught attempting to smuggle some of the guns out in the boot of his car.

After rewording, the 'whom' assumes an object of the verb (smuggle), that is later used in the sentence and the word, 'amongst' instead of 'who' adds more to believing that 'amongst' is referring to Staff members and not to the stockpile of weapons.

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It should be rewritten, and here's why:

Stockpiles of weapons were found in the building of the staff members who worked there - one of whom was later caught attempting to smuggle some of the guns out in the boot of his car.

The subject in the sentence if stockpiles of weapons, so the 'one of whom' seems like it should be referring to stockpiles of weapons.

Take this example:

Bananas were found in the crate of oranges - one of which was ...

In this example, you can see that 'one of which' is referring to one banana.

  • Thank you both for your answers, they were a big help. I agree, it needs rewritten. I just wasn't able to pinpoint exactly why other than it felt wrong, but now I can! – liston Jan 29 '17 at 8:30
  • No; 'one of whom' by default refers back to the nearest available antecedent, and 'whom' rules out 'stockpiles/weapons' here in any case. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 29 '17 at 12:23

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