The girl who they say is a singer, met me last night.


The girl whom they say is a singer, met me last night.

Note: We Follow British English.

  • 3
    Forget the pesky embedded clause: The girl who they say is a singer. Or you can omit the who and spare yourself the question.
    – KarlG
    May 28, 2018 at 17:07
  • 1
    In this particular example, it would not be incorrect to use whom, as "the girl" is the object of the clause. But as @KarlG points out - it is simpler to leave it out altogether. "Girl" does not need a capital G unless it begins the sentence.
    – WS2
    May 28, 2018 at 17:22
  • 2
    @WS2: The embedded clause has no effect on the case of the relative. "They say she's a singer. a girl who is a singer. Some clever soul has invented the rubbish term "nominative whom" to cover such cases, but really, one should just discard "whom" entirely.
    – KarlG
    May 28, 2018 at 17:51
  • I think that both who and whom are valid and that both may be omitted.
    – Nigel J
    May 28, 2018 at 18:44
  • Either way, you can't use just one comma. It is possible to have parenthetical commas with one before they (in which case it is 'who') or none at all (in which case it is `whom'). May 28, 2018 at 19:17

1 Answer 1


You could use either as correct English.

By the way, who(m) they say is a singer is a relative clause. This means it needs parenthesis surrounding it. You have also added a capital "G" for girl. Since it is not a proper (but common) noun, it does not need one.

With the correct punctuation and grammar, it should read like this:

The girl, who they say is a singer, met me last night.


The girl, whom they say is a singer, met me last night

  • The thing is, it is a clause that begins with a relative pronoun (the five relative pronouns are who, whom, whose, which and that). This makes it a relative clause. May 28, 2018 at 17:56
  • The commas depend on how it's meant to be read. In this case, I'd argue you shouldn't use commas. "The girl who they say is a singer", as opposed to some other girl. But if the context is unambiguous and there's only one girl in question, then "The girl, who they say is a singer, ..." May 28, 2018 at 17:56
  • 2
    Whatever whom is, it's not the object of say, but the subject of is. Just because a lot of people are thrown off by an embedded clause like they say doesn't mean it makes sense to leave is with an oblique subject.
    – KarlG
    May 28, 2018 at 18:02
  • @AleksandrH, this would mean it is not an embedded clause and; therefore, you wouldn't need a comma after sing. I assumed that Anus Gupta's original sentence was to contain this information as a separate clause and just (likely accidentally) missed out one of the commas. May 28, 2018 at 18:08
  • @KarlG I was not talking about the usage of the pronoun, just the identification of the clause. May 28, 2018 at 18:10

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