The language curmudgeon . . .

Who the Bell Tolls For

by Conrad Weisert
April 25, 2013

©2013, Information Disciplines, Inc.
This article may be circulated freely, as long as the copyright credit is included.


I just learned from the Atlantic magazine1 that I may be considered a "pompous twerp". My offense, says "Wordplay" columnist Megan Garber, is to continue using the objective case of the pronoun who!

Of course, I immediately did a Google search of this web-site and turned up an embarrassing 24 instances of the pompous obsolete pronoun whom.2 Ms. Garber quotes a language blogger who she respects:

"Whom is unnecessary—indeed, it's out of place—where a conversational tone is sought."

So, now I've been warned. I'll try to keep that in mind.

*   *   *   *

Ms. Garber also cites avoiding splitting infinitives and ending sentences with prepositions as similar obsolete niceties of English. Actually most Americans understand that final prepositions are a long-accepted English idiom (but perhaps not the sort of Americans around with whom I generally hang).


1—April, 2013, p. 18
2—Of course you can find them, too. Presumably, Google will now report 25 instances. I'll welcome any sensible suggestions for appropriately modernizing the language.

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Last modified April 25, 2013