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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?

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2 Answers 2

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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 of the clause, just as is is its verb.

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.

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  • So whoever in that context is right? And it's right for both US and UK English? Oct 1, 2012 at 21:44
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    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. Oct 1, 2012 at 22:26
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    @JohnLawler: This is a bit extreme. Language would be rather boring if noöne ever dared daring constructions or used unusual usages. Oct 2, 2012 at 1:53
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    What's daring about whom? Why not try hath or dost, if you want a thrill? Oct 2, 2012 at 1:59
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    @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, 2015 at 15:58
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I'm quoting a tip sheet here:

When who and whom (or whoever and whomever) appear in subordinate clauses (groups of words which contain a subject and a verb), their case is determined by their function within the clause.

Example 1:

Whomever the party suspected of disloyalty was executed.

Example 2:

He tells that story to whoever will listen.

In other words, what matters is the subordinate clause not the main clause.

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    At least find examples which contain "whoever" and "whomever". And you need to reference the place you took the picture from (otherwise it's plagiarism, which is unethical). Mar 25, 2021 at 13:18
  • yes added examples and deleted the image. Thank you for your suggestion.
    – Code42
    Mar 25, 2021 at 18:08
  • I doubt you'd find many people uttering (or writing) 'Whomever the party suspected of disloyalty was executed'; 'whomever' is disappearing faster than 'whom'. 'Whoever the party suspected of disloyalty was executed' would win the popular vote overwhelmingly (and usage drives grammaticality). Mar 25, 2021 at 19:15

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