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Anon native english speaker here.

I'm playing a game that gamifies life, and I'm creating an item that stands for coke (Coca~Cola). I want it to be rpg-ish, so I wrote this:

“‘Whomever layeth sight upon this vial shall see the true colour of one's soul’, say the elders. No wonder it's all black.”

I really want to learn more, and I tried to adventure into this after reading some of Poe's stories.

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  • Yes, it is. I had doubts about whether it was called that way all over the world.
    – condosz
    Apr 19, 2017 at 5:00
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    There are a few problems with the sentence. "Whomever" is an objective case pronoun; it is incorrect in subject position, as it is here. You should use "whoever" or "whosoever." "One's" sounds odd here. In something like the King James Bible, masculine third-person pronouns are generally used after "who(so)ever". However, nowadays this is often considered sexist.
    – herisson
    Apr 19, 2017 at 5:01
  • I like @sumelic's suggestion of whosoever to maintain an archaic feel. You also can replace one's with their even if you aren't a fan of singular-they, as who(soever) is both singular and plural (compare whoever they are, there are a lot of them). You would pluralize soul or not, depending on your feeling about singular-they.
    – 1006a
    Apr 19, 2017 at 6:32
  • @1006a: the thing is that "who/whoever" is generally singular as a subject. In "whoever they are, there are a lot of them," the subject is "they," and "whoever" is used as a predicate, so that's fine. But sentences like "Who are at the door?" that treat "who" as plural when it is the subject of the clause generally sound off at best.
    – herisson
    Apr 19, 2017 at 6:41
  • @sumelic I don't entirely disagree, but I think their would be better here than one's or his. And while we don't ask who are at the door if we don't know the number of visitors, who are they is unremarkable when pointing to a group of people, and who are the people at the door is also acceptable.
    – 1006a
    Apr 19, 2017 at 7:35

2 Answers 2

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Your sentence “‘Whomever layeth sight upon this vial shall see the true colour of one's soul’, say the elders. No wonder it's all black.”

Correct sentence should be “‘Whoever layeth sight upon this vial shall see the true colour of one's soul’, say the elders. No wonder it's all black.”

Explanation : The presence of whoever or whomever indicates a dependent clause. Use whoever or whomever to agree with the verb in that dependent clause, regardless of the rest of the sentence. Whoever/Whomever layeth sight upon this vial...

He layeth sight upon this vial.So,Whoever is correct

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  • What are your thoughts on ‘whosoever’?
    – condosz
    Apr 19, 2017 at 12:31
  • I believe you want me to comment on whether we can use whosoever instead of whoever.My response is yes, absolutely.Both these words are synonymous,but, whosoever is extremely archaic and very rarely used in modern english.So, I would stick with whoever. Apr 19, 2017 at 15:23
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'Whomever layeth sight upon this vial' is the subject compound in this sentence. In this perspective, 'Whomever' (of them) layeth sight upon, shall see the true colour of one's soul’, say the elders. No wonder it's all black.”...is grammatically correct. Moreover, "if they shall see the true colour, the colour shall be of their soul (not one's), say the elders ( to them, not they).

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  • "Whomever layeth" and "Whomever' (of them) layeth" are not grammatical. The subject of a clause should be in subjective case, not objective case.
    – herisson
    Apr 19, 2017 at 6:42
  • Who layeth sight upon this vial shall see the true color of one's soul?
    – user230919
    Apr 19, 2017 at 7:09
  • I think "whoever" or "whosoever" sound better. Having "ever" at the end is possible for pronouns of either grammatical case, and it indicates the free-choice nature of the pronoun.
    – herisson
    Apr 19, 2017 at 7:11
  • Whomever layeth sight upon this vial shall be HIM WHO ( say the elders) see the true colors of one's soul, say the elders.
    – user230919
    Apr 19, 2017 at 7:19
  • "Whoever" without the "m" is what would be called for here.
    – herisson
    Apr 19, 2017 at 7:21

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