The Grama Queen Writes Again

by Bonnie Smiler

Is it time to offer whom last rites, or will it continue to be marginalized on life support with “To Whom It May Concern?” (I’m not in the business world and rarely write letters requiring the phrase. Is it still used?)

Whom is becoming obsolete, a member of the dying breed of objective pronouns being erroneously misplaced by their nominative brethren: in whom’s case, who. Between you and me—or in current parlance—between you and I (ouch!), can we make a case for misusing or losing a case? How many of you have seen or heard prepositional phrases with nominative pronouns such as in the above example?

The English language is always changing, and perhaps it is continuing to simplify itself by objectively shedding objective pronouns. You and I may object, but English marches on while casting off rules and words that have become inconvenient. “What happened to whom?” you may ask. It is buried in the dictionary. Rest in peace.

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