I try to be as professional in writing this blog as I can. I make every attempt to tell an interesting story, to not dwell too much on my pet peeves, and to write things others are not writing. I also make a good effort to use correct grammar, punctuation, and other use of the English language.
There’s a bit of pressure on me to use correct English. I’m the father of an English teacher. And I know, at least from time to time, he reads these epistles. As such, I’m really careful. When I do have a question, I’m not too proud to ask my son’s advice. Recently, I did just that.
The advice I sought concerned the proper place to use “who” or “whom.” I wanted specifically to know the proper usage in the sentence, “She had an uncle with (who or whom) I bonded. Being the good son that he is he responded promptly. His instruction clearly explained this to me. He gave me the him/he rule. So, in my sentence it would be: “She had an uncle with whom I bonded.” That’s because I bonded with him. And if I bonded with “him” then it’s “whom.” Now, in another sentence I might have said: “She had an uncle who had a nice car.” Okay, you see, “He” had a nice car. And if it’s “he” then I should use “who.”
I hope, my dear reader, this has clarified things for you. I’m sure you have, as I, pondered many times over the years when you should use who and when you should use whom. My prayer is that by relaying my English teacher son's lesson to you this will no longer cause sleepless nights.
But if you fear there might be future sleepless nights because of the who or whom dilemma relax. My son also told me that “whom” is now on it’s last leg. The common, modern, practice, he says, is to always use who.
I beg to differ. Look, Mrs. Blalock was my high school English teacher. Mrs. Blalock told me it was important that one use the words who and whom in the proper context. With all due respect to my son, Mrs. Blalock lived a bit closer to the formation of the English language than he. (Please note I didn’t say “him.” You can thank Mrs. Blalock for that.) So, I need to meet my son at some roadside tavern somewhere between my house and his so we can discuss this further. I mean, are we going to have a memorial service for “whom” or just let “whom” drift away into oblivion without a whimper.
What’s next? Are we going to see the adaptation of spelling to conform to that of the teenagers today? O RLY!! For those of you who are not teenagers, that’s text spelling for “Oh, really.” Don’t you dare reply: YA RLY (Text spelling for “Yeah, really”). Frankly, I think IRL (in real life) old farts as I need to hold the fort against the corruption of our mother tongue. IMO (in my opinion) we still need Mrs. Blalock.
The next thing you know my son will be telling me that it’s okay to end a sentence with a preposition. And I, along with Winston Churchill, find that a situation up with which I shall not put.