Possible Duplicate:
“Most of which” or “most of whom”?

The following is a sentence from an email I recently sent, not knowing if it was the proper use of the word.

As I mentioned, I have two (2) clients in the OMAHA area for whom I have been moving freight for about 16 months.

My question is whether I should have used "for which" instead of "for whom".

I make every effort to use my native language properly, but I am often unsure of the proper use of some of these words.

marked as duplicate by FumbleFingers, MetaEd, Hellion, StoneyB, Mark Beadles Nov 10 '12 at 14:10

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • 1
    Why do you think it should have been for which? – Barrie England Nov 9 '12 at 21:32
  • 1
    What do you even mean by "properly"? What´s the actual source of your insecurity? – Neil Coffey Nov 9 '12 at 22:02
  • 1
    Is there really need to write (2) after two? I managed to read and understand two without clarification. And is there really need to shout OMAHA instead of Omaha? – Hugo Nov 9 '12 at 22:57
  • Related: "Most of which" vs. "most of whom". – RegDwigнt Nov 9 '12 at 23:17
  • AS to your? "Is there really need to write (2) after two?" – Jay Sigal Nov 10 '12 at 0:00

Noting this chart comparing "clients for whom" against "clients for which"...

enter image description here

...I think it's fair to say "whom" is the preferred word with "human" referents such as client, buyer, customer, user, purchaser, shopper etc.

  • 2
    Of course, what many people would actually say is As I mentioned, I have two (2) clients in the OMAHA area I’ve been moving freight for for about 16 months. – Barrie England Nov 9 '12 at 21:37
  • @Barrie: I'm sure they would. But of course if I wanted to be picky, I could point out that that's what they would actually say. In speech, the second "for" would be very "unstressed" (as would the first "that" in the sentence before this) - what looks stylistically clunky in the written form can be completely unexceptional in actual speech. – FumbleFingers Nov 9 '12 at 21:49
  • I thought you might say that, and I was aware of the awkwardness of the repeated for, but then writers of emails often replicate the forms of speech. – Barrie England Nov 10 '12 at 6:58
  • 1
    @Barrie: Yeah - usually when I read the word for the "voice in my head" hears it as four. But in speech I habitually reduce it, so I'd normally say "...moving freight them" even if the word only occured once. With the repeated construction here, it's more like "moving freight for f'rabout 16 months". And I wouldn't even enunciate the /r/ if it weren't for "about" starting with a vowel. Don't waste phonemes, I say (you never know if we might run out of them one day, like fossil fuels! :) – FumbleFingers Nov 10 '12 at 15:46

Collins has personal and organisational alternatives in its first-mentioned definition of client:

client [ˈklaɪənt] n 1. a person, company, etc., that seeks the advice of a professional man or woman

Notice that it uses that rather than who after the closer antecedent company. I'm sure that this licenses 'for which' in the original if 'clients' refers to companies or other organisations. However, I'm equally sure that 'client', no matter whether it refers to an individual or an organisation, connotes enough personality always to license who or whom. I'd opt for the construction indicating person(s) / personification .

  • I wouldn't read too much into the use of that rather than who - there are 10s of thousands of "he is the person that..." in Google Books. Which is always for things, and who is always for people, but that can do for either. – FumbleFingers Nov 10 '12 at 2:06
  • How may I reply to a specific commenter written in response to my original question? – Jay Sigal Nov 14 '12 at 22:37

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