[LMB] to wit to whom

Marc Wilson marc.wilson at gmx.co.uk
Sat Oct 15 18:47:43 BST 2016


On Fri, 14 Oct 2016 00:10:46 -0500 (CDT), Lois Bujold
<lbujold at myinfmail.com> wrote:

>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.
>

Another "who" vote from me.  "Whom" just sounds wrong, like false
erudition.
-- 
There are no violent gangs fighting over aspirin territories. 
-- Harry Browne (Presidential Candidate, Libertarian Party)


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