6

On the subject of "whoever" and "whomever", I was reading this but I am still confused: http://www.grammarbook.com/grammar/whoever.asp

What is the correct use of whoever/whomever in the following sentence?

I like your copy, congratulations, whoever is writing it.

Whoever? Whomever?

Is there a difference between US and UK English?

9

The answer is that it has to be whoever, because the relative pronoun takes the case of the function it serves in the subordinate clause. That whole clause is “whoever is writing it”, where whoever is the subject.

Swap in he-vs-him on things like this to see which one works right: you would never say *him is writing it, so it cannot be whomever.

No, this is not different in any standard form of English, although some hypercorrectionists are wont to get it wrong and wrongly stick whomever in there where it has no business being.

  • So whoever in that context is right? And it's right for both US and UK English? – João Paulo Oct 1 '12 at 21:44
  • 4
    The simplest thing to do if you're not sure of where/when/whether/why to use whom or whomever is simply not to use either one. Ever. They are more often used incorrectly than correctly, even by native speakers; non-native speakers should avoid both. Whom is dead. – John Lawler Oct 1 '12 at 22:26
  • 1
    @JohnLawler: This is a bit extreme. Language would be rather boring if noöne ever dared daring constructions or used unusual usages. – Cerberus Oct 2 '12 at 1:53
  • 3
    What's daring about whom? Why not try hath or dost, if you want a thrill? – John Lawler Oct 2 '12 at 1:59
  • 2
    @JonathanY. The direct object of the verb congratulate is the entire clause whoever wrote that pieces as a single constituent. Words within constituents do their job there, not the job of the constituent itself. Therefore whoever is a subject and the entire clause is the object. – tchrist May 26 '15 at 15:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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