Scene 1: Who or Whom?

(Adapted from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Names and actions courtesy of event that occur at the Rumor Forum.)

While most of these are inside jokes on the above forum, this scene more than others needs some prerequisite reading. To have full understanding of the below events, you need to have read this thread.

[opening music]
[wind]
[clop clop clop]

TYRANT GEOF:
Whoa there!
[clop clop clop]

KEITH:
Halt! Who goes there?

TYRANT GEOF:
It is I, TYRANT GEOF, son of Sam Morris, from the Rumor Forum. Wondergeek of the Net, defeater of the State of Alabama, Sovereign of all RMFO!

KEITH:
Whose the other one!?

TYRANT GEOF:
I am,…you mean, ‘who’s’ with me? This is my trusty servant Bo-ob.
With whom I have ridden the length and breadth of the land in search of bartenders who will join me in my Random Board. I must speak with your moderator.

KEITH:
That would be, with who. (hey, you get to correct my spelling, I get to poke at your grammar )

TYRANT GEOF:
No!

KEITH:
“Who” never changes case to match an antecedent.!

TYRANT GEOF:
What?

KEITH:
“They took him WHOM they blamed.” CORRECT—but not because WHOM matches HIM: that doesn’t matter: correct because “they” is the subject of “blamed” and “whom” is the object.

TYRANT GEOF:
So? We have ridden since the snows of winter covered this land, through the kingdom of Caedmonscall.net, through—

KEITH:
Not to make a huge deal out of this, but you’re still wrong.

TYRANT GEOF:
But is what I wrote a sentence?

KEITH:
This matters to me; I’m a writer. I need to make sure I have this sort of thing straightened out in my head!

TYRANT GEOF:
What do you mean?

KEITH:
Look, The above statement is true, but the “whomever” in your sentence is the subject of the verb clause, not the object.

TYRANT GEOF:
I’d argue that the implied subject is “I”, as in “I will give a dollar to whomever finds it.”

KEITH:
HOWEVER, “Whoever” is the subject of that phrase.

TYRANT GEOF:
Not at all. To whom it may concern, Keith is wrong..

KEITH:
Now, that sentence, though untrue, is grammatically correct.

TYRANT GEOF:
Prepositions take objects; whomever is the objective case of whoever!

KEITH:
“I am he WHOM THEY BLAME.” CORRECT. Whom is the “object” of “they blame.” Back to rule one: “who” clauses are completely independent in case from the rest of the sentence. The case of “who” in its clause changes by the internal logic of the clause and by NO influence outside the clause. Repeat to yourself: there is no connection, there is no connection 3 x and you will never mistake for whom the bell tolls.

TYRANT GEOF:
Well, it doesn’t matter. Will you go and tell your moderator that TYRANT GEOF from the Rumor Forum is here?

KEITH:
Listen. In the sentence, “A dollar to whoever finds it.” WHOEVER is the SUBJECT of the verb “finds”. Drop the “ever” if it helps. You would never say “A dollar to (him whom finds it).” It’s, “A dollar to (he who finds it).” Right?

TYRANT GEOF:
Please!

KEITH:
Am I right?

TYRANT GEOF:
I’m not interested!

CHRIS (FROM L.C.):
It could be written “I’ll give a dollar to the person who finds it”!

KEITH:
Oh, yeah, “the person who finds it” maybe, but not “whomever finds it”. That’s my point.

CHRIS (FROM L.C.):
Oh, yeah, I agree with that.

TYRANT GEOF:
Will you ask your moderator if he wants to join my Bartenders at the Rumor Forum?!

KEITH:
But then of course a—that would be more awkward to say…

CHRIS (FROM L.C.):
Oh, yeah.

KEITH:
So, they he wouldn’t want to say that anyway.
[clop clop clop]

CHRIS (FROM L.C.):
Wait a minute! Supposing he was writing free-form?

KEITH:
No, that would complicate communication.

CHRIS (FROM L.C.):
Well, simple! He’d post it to the Artsy Fartsy Board!

KEITH:
What, Geof?

CHRIS (FROM L.C.):
Well, why not?

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11 Responses to Scene 1: Who or Whom?

  1. heather says:

    niiice! :rmfo:

  2. Roger says:

    Thank you to Heather, at least, for leaving her comment HERE!!

    You should tell Jeff to stop by here once in a while…

  3. Anonymous says:

    breathtaking

  4. Roger says:

    That sounds Dave-ish (David from the Boards). Am I right?

  5. Hannah says:

    :mrgreen: as a grammar teacher, this provides infinite pleasure!

  6. Roger says:

    Just so everyone knows, I know that the arguement as I set it up is incorrect. I was just basing it off the real one.

    Infinte pleasure, huh? I guess you’re set for life, then. 😉

  7. the Sage says:

    Himsoever writed this really rights real good!

  8. Keith says:

    Hahaha… that was great. That’s what I totally felt like in that thread… like I kept bringing it back to a topic everybody else had long-since moved beyond.

    So… grammar teacher, eh Hanna? Could you tell Geof he was wrong 😉

  9. Geof says:

    Keith: :P. I still want to consult my grammar text this weekend. 😉

  10. nHannah says:

    I’ll put my grammar teaching skills on it – Geof is very wrong in this case :yes:

  11. Dano says:

    Infact, “a dollar to whomever finds it” whomever is the object of a preposition in the indirect case. Not the subject. Dollar is objective. Subject and verb would be implied, but this fragment on its own is not a sentence at all 🙂

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