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This is my first question so I'm asking for leniency if it is a bit off.

So, here's my question.

I was writing an email to a student of mine to tell him, in answer to a request of his that it was OK for him to share some information with people who helped him in his research.

I found myself writing the following,

"You can share the Zoom link with whoever would like to attend your presentation".

As I was proof-reading my email, I wondered about whoever, more precisely about how it seemingly occupied two functions in the sentence (object of share with and subject of would like). As always when in doubt, I came here and saw this post, which I think gave me the answer I was looking for.

Could anyone please confirm that, as user77991 says, "whoever" is actually just the subject of "would like" and that the object of "share with" is indeed the whole phrase "whoever would like to attend".

The reason I asked myself the question was the old mantra that one word cannot play two roles at the same time in a sentence.

Thanks in advance for your insights and sorry for the lengthy question,

Remy

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  • Do these answer your question, Rem? Put me in touch with ?whomever? created it (F.E.'s answer seems comprehensive / balanced) and duplicates. "Whoever" Vs. "Whomever" might also be useful. (Actually, @BillJ seems to argue in yet another thread that neither choice is really satisfactory here.) Jun 17, 2023 at 10:13
  • ... This echoes your concern. A less contentious workaround is easy: "You can share the Zoom link with anyone who would like to attend your presentation". Jun 17, 2023 at 10:20
  • The question is not about pronoun case, but about its role in the clause and whether it can have two functions.
    – BillJ
    Jun 17, 2023 at 12:45
  • Thank you all. I was not looking for a workaround but mostly interested in knowing if my assumption was right. Sorry about possibly not posting in the appropriate section. And I had read the other posts, but I had no hesitation about using whoever or whomever as it was clearly the subject.
    – Rem
    Jun 18, 2023 at 9:39

1 Answer 1

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You can share the Zoom link with [whoever would like to attend your presentation].

You are right: it is theoretically impossible for an element to have two functions.

In your example, the pronoun functions solely as subject.

However, there is a possible clash of pronoun case ("whoever" vs "whomever") but that's another matter.

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  • Hold on a mo. Aren't "fused" function items which have two syntactic functions at the same time? [Had to withhold me knee-jerk upvote there]. It would be stretching it, of course, if whoever had a third function, but it's already being both a head and a pronucleus at the same time! Jun 17, 2023 at 19:37
  • Oops - 'prenucleus' Jun 17, 2023 at 23:26
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    Yes: 'functional fusing' as the boys call it.
    – BillJ
    Jun 18, 2023 at 12:49
  • The fusion is between the head of the NP and the relativised element, cf. the non-fused "any person who ..."
    – BillJ
    Jun 18, 2023 at 15:49

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