I'm struggling to wrap my brain around this and would appreciate some advice please.

Are there situations where it is appropriate to use Who immediately after Whom?

Here's my example from a story I'm writing (the text is from a faux historian)

While one can understand the actions of a lonely few – some of whom who perhaps did make good their escape...

When I try it with just the whom it sounds wrong. I'm unsure if I'm just getting super confused with tenses here but this is the second time I've tried to word a sentence like this and its annoying me that I can't get it right. Previously I just ended up reworking it to avoid the issue altogether, but I feel it should be possible to construct in this way.

In my head if I was saying this as an aside in conversation right now, I might say:

some of them who perhaps did make good on their escape...

So is it ok to substitute them with whom?

Suggestions gratefully received!

  • 1
    I don't understand what the sentence is trying to say, could you care to elaborate? But generally no, you can only use either. In this case the pronoun "one" is being used indefinitely and the expression is quite formal, so I'd retain whom and take out who. As for the second part, them is only used if you are referring to specific people (a group); but every individual in the group does not have to be known.
    – aesking
    Commented May 30, 2018 at 20:12
  • 1
    Google Books claims 1,600,000 written instances of some of whom were. They've also got 28,700 instances of some of who were (mostly, later, since the modern trend is to replace whom by who in many if not all contexts), and 1,210 instances of some of whom who were (mostly older; I doubt many would consider using it today). Commented May 30, 2018 at 20:17
  • 1
    I mean: "some of whom made good their escape". But I'd like to express the author's uncertainty (hence the 'who perhaps'). He's assuming some escaped but allows that this is purely speculation. I take the point it's poorly worded but I'm trying to recreate slightly clunky wording I imagine this historian would use, specifically while he's prepared to offer personal comment, he's careful not to present as fact something he has no evidence to support.
    – Teeline
    Commented May 30, 2018 at 20:37
  • 1
    thinking about it, would a simple comma achieve what I'm looking for and help the reader understand the meaning: "some of whom, who perhaps did make good on their escape. I could also have a comma after perhaps...
    – Teeline
    Commented May 30, 2018 at 20:50
  • 1
    ...the actions of a lonely few – those who perhaps managed to escape...
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented May 31, 2018 at 8:05

2 Answers 2


In this context, you don’t need the “who”. You can use pied-piping, putting the prepositional phrase “of whom” at the start of the relative clause:

While one can understand the actions of a lonely few – of whom some perhaps did make good their escape...

For the more general question, the earlier question Who/whom + who relative clause may be relevant.


There is something called OBLIGATORY "whom" which is used after a preceeding quantifiers i.e: some of, few of, both of, all of, etc. So if you find one of them, you are obligated to use "whom" afterwards. Ex: There are many sudents who will graduate next month. Some of whom may receive honorary degree because of their exellency. So, no matter how weird they sound, you are obliged to use it as above. That's why they named it "obligatory whom"

But you are free to use 'them' or 'whom' in the end. Not many ppl use whom these days but if you wanna make it formal, then you might want to use 'whom' instead.

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