I have encountered the following sentence in the wild and it strikes me as incorrect. Is my logic sound?

Thanks to whomever left this.

First, I reconstructed the sentence with whomever as the direct object.

Thanks to whomever.

This seems perfectly good because whomever is a direct object pronoun. Now, we return to my proposed correction of the original sentence:

Thanks to whoever left this.

In my view, we have an implied subject and an implied object, so we could parse the sentence as follows:

[I give] thanks to whoever left this [thing].

In this sense, the implied subject I corresponds to the indirect object whoever, while whoever itself corresponds to the implied object thing (while this acts as an adjective). Does this make sense?

  • 2
    Whoever and whomever head dependent clauses that are not affected by their main clauses. Remove the dependent clause from the sentence and make it correct for itself: *whomever left this / him left this (incorrect). whoever left this / he left this (correct). Then put it back in the sentence: Thanks to whoever left this. Commented Nov 16, 2021 at 23:00
  • You are overthinking the matter. English is evolving and simplifying. "Whomever" is quite uncommon. "Whomsoever" is commoner and means much the same thing. "Whom" is the objective of "who" but is losing ground to "who" as an objective form. The battle of the distinction between "whomever", "whomsoever", and "whoever" has been all but lost. Use whoever throughout.
    – Greybeard
    Commented Nov 16, 2021 at 23:02
  • @TinfoilHat Aha! I had no idea that they aren't affected by the main clauses? Mind putting this as an answer so I can choose it? :) This is what I was looking for.
    – mig81
    Commented Nov 17, 2021 at 1:09
  • @Greybeard While I agree in principle that English is evolving, I still feel weird about using subject pronouns for both subject and object senses... Also, if anything "whomsoever" seems to be really uncommon in everyday usage, no?
    – mig81
    Commented Nov 17, 2021 at 1:10
  • @Greybeard Nope, you should give it to whomever you please, or to whoever calls, whichever comes first. Note the difference. This is an infinite duplicate.
    – tchrist
    Commented Nov 17, 2021 at 1:32


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