Don’t Say Whomever

The latest article in the Freakonomics blog is kinda funny in trying to be serious about the perils of misinformation while also quoting and laughing at the accusation of…the Shadow Blog.

It’s only slightly funny when it misuses the word “whomever.” The misuse of “whom,” and my twitch about it, came up at lunch just today. So when I saw it in Freakonomics I felt that, although it’s not interesting, at least it’s not unexpected.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Whom and whomever may be tricky. You may not know exactly when to use them (rather than who and whoever). But my advice is heart-stoppingly simple: If you don’t know, then always use who and whoever. No one with any sense is ever going to blog that you screwed up by writing “who” when it should have been “whom.”

I know what you’re thinking, of course. No one with any sense is going to blog when you use whom wrong either. People won’t notice. And I can see that the charge against my having sense is a reasonable one.

But still. I have to ask myself: Why do people use whom when they don’t know it cold? I’m just wondering, in a sociological kind of way. Not judging anyone at all. Why?

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