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My dictionary says that (A) is grammatically correct and (B) is wrong but that, in reality, (B) is also used. Is this information correct? Would you yourself accept the use of ‘whom’ in a sentence like this?


(A) He is a man who they believe is one of the greatest artists in the world.

(B) He is a man whom they believe is one of the greatest artists in the world.

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Koji from Japan Is this information correct?

Yes.

Koji from JapanWould you yourself accept the use of ‘whom’ in a sentence like this?

Absolutely.

If you want to get into the nitty-gritty, Wikipedia has an extensive article.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Who (pronoun)

Excerpt:

According to traditional prescriptive grammar, "who" is the subjective (nominative) form only, while "whom" is the corresponding objective form (just as "him" is the objective form corresponding to "he"). However, it has long been common, particularly in informal English, for the uninflected form "who" to be used in both cases, thus replacing "whom" in the contexts where the latter was traditionally used.

In 1975, S. Potter noted in Changing English that, "nearly half a century ago Edward Sapir predicted the demise of "whom", showing at great length that it was doomed because it was 'psychologically isolated' from the objective pronouns me, us, him, her, them on the one hand, and the invariables which, what, that and where, when, how, why on the other." By 1978, the 'who'–'whom' distinction was identified as having "slipped so badly that [it is] almost totally uninformative". According to the OED (2nd edition, 1989), "whom" is "no longer current in natural colloquial speech". Lasnik and Sobin argue that surviving occurrences of "whom" are not part of ordinary English grammar, but the result of extra-grammatical rules for producing "prestige" forms.

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Koji from JapanMy dictionary says that (A) is grammatically correct and (B) is wrong

I agree.

Koji from Japanin reality, (B) is also used

Well, that may be, but people make mistakes all the time, so this isn't really telling us anything useful (in my opinion).

Koji from JapanWould you yourself accept the use of ‘whom’ in a sentence like this?

No, no, no, no, no!

Does that answer your question? Emotion: big smile

CJ

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Koji from JapanHe is a man whom they believe is one of the greatest artists in the world.

By the way, this can be analyzed thus:

He is a man who [they believe] is one of the greatest artists in the world.

In other words

They believe that he is one of the greatest artists in the world.

he ~ who


Compare:

He is the man whom [they believe] she wanted to repair the car.

In other words

They believe she wanted him to repair the car.

him ~ whom

(In this case 'whom' can be expressed as 'who', and usually is.)

CJ

Comments  

Thank you very much for your answer and additional information, AlpheccaStars.

Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.

You think sentence B is wrong, but you would accept it?

CB

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Thank you, CJ. I understand your explanation very well.

Are you asking me, CB?

I wouldn’t use B myself. I tend to be conservative about language use. But I wouldn’t mind if someone used B, perhaps.

"Are you asking me, CB?"

No, I added a comment to AS's post, but the system doesn't work very well in that regard. I think AS has accidentally mixed up who and whom in her reply.

CB

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