[LMB] to wit to whom

Lois Bujold lbujold at myinfmail.com
Fri Oct 14 06:10:46 BST 2016

So, another person came back with:

... it's a v. complex sentence by the look of it and I cd. do with the 
end to see where the object of "to think" actually is, because it isn't 
in this lot.

But so far as I can make out,

1. "Illyan" and all that pertains to him is bracketed behind the "that," 
so he and the rest of his qualifiers can't be the direct object.

2. To construct an untwistable analogy, which could happen with just a 
noun or even with "you," if you wrote "To think that I/me would do such 
a thing," I at least would unhesitatingly choose the "I."

3. Which means that if "Illyan" is in the place of "I", he must, like 
the pronoun dictated by common usage, be in the nominative case.

4. Which means that every clause dependent on him and therefore using a 
pronoun like "who," will also use the nominative case for its pronoun.

5. So, as far as I can see, both the "whoms" should be "who." It looks 
awkward, but it will look awkward either way, as these things sometimes do.

So now I have convincing-sounding votes both ways, sigh.

I admit, the above would be more useful to me if I could remember what a 
direct object was, last encountered in school 53 years ago; and I know I 
never learned what a nominative case is, ever.

It probably doesn't help that it's a sentence fragment in 3rd-person 
past-tense stream-of-consciousness.  Perhaps I shall just blame it on Miles.

For reference, the full passage in question goes:

To think that Illyan, whom he’d
known all his life, whom he’d assumed trusted him implicitly or why
else send him on a series of such distant, independent
missions. . . . He’d been proud to be so trusted, while still a young
officer, with so little direct supervision in his covert ops.

On another head, as a sentence fragment I see it ought to have the 
ellipsis without a period, aka a three-dot ellipsis.  While we're at it.

Ta, L.

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