[LMB] whom ha?

Jim Parish jparish at siue.edu
Fri Oct 14 00:26:28 BST 2016

Lois Bujold wrote:
> Hm.  In the sentence
> To think that Illyan, whom he’d
> known all his life, whom he’d assumed trusted him [Miles] implicitly 
> or why
> else send him on a series of such distant, independent
> missions. . . .
>  I am failing to see any structural differences between:   To think 
> that Illyan, whom he'd known   and  To think that Illyan, whom he'd 
> assumed
> The opening clause bifurcates to be the predecessor of both co-equal 
> following clauses, after all.
> ??? 

The difference is this. In the first example, "Illyan" is the object of 
"known"; in the second, the object of "assumed" is not "Illyan", but the 
entire clause "Illyan trusted him". Within that clause, "Illyan" is the 
subject, and hence is referred to as "who".

Opinions, even among the opinion-makers, do vary on precisely when to 
use or not use "whom", though, and in another century it's likely that 
"whom" will go the way of "ye" - or so I hear from genuine linguists.

Jim Parish

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