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Consider the following:

  1. I congratulate him.
  2. He won the race.
  3. I congratulate him who won the race.

I think these are straight-forward. The object of the main clause becomes the subject of the relative clause, so I have switched from accusative him to nominative who.

But what about where a single relative pronoun is used:

  1. I congratulate who(m?)ever won the race.

Should the relative pronoun be considered accusative, as the direct object of "congratulate", or nominative, as the subject of "won", or can the entire relative clause be considered the direct object of "congratulate", leaving "whoever" as the correct choice?

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    The duplicate contains the sentence "I saw the man who I think was mad," which is the same construction.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Feb 17, 2022 at 10:36
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    "Whoever" is preferable, but Ssee my answer here link
    – BillJ
    Commented Feb 17, 2022 at 10:46
  • @AndrewLeach I think this may be different case. Your example is a transposition of "This is the man whom I saw." with changes. My question regards the combining of "the man" and "who" such that it not so easily decomposed as two main clauses. Edit: I see there are a few other duplicates, my title was just poor.
    – Marcus
    Commented Feb 17, 2022 at 10:51
  • @BillJ Thank you. I take it you would disagree the relative clause itself can be considered a direct object of the main verb?
    – Marcus
    Commented Feb 17, 2022 at 10:52
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    Actually, "who(m) ever won the race" is not a clause but a noun phrase in a 'fused' relative construction understood as "the person satisfying the description 'x won the race'".
    – BillJ
    Commented Feb 17, 2022 at 10:58

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