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I came across this sentence in a text I was issued for a seminar: "Give the package to (whoever, whomever) comes to the door." The correct response was listed as "whomever."
The rationale for this was: substitute "he" or "him," as in "give the package to him." Therefore, in this sentence, "whomever" is correct.

I called a local community college that has a grammar hotline, and their response was that "whomever" was correct because it was the object of the proposition "to." I then asked the hotline person what function "comes to the door" served in this sentence, and she responded that it modified whomever!

Please, someone back me up here. "Whoever comes to the door" is a noun clause that is the object of the preposition "to," actually functioning as an indirect object in this sentence. Within the clause, the subject is "whoever." By virtue of the fact that it is the subject, it has to be in the nominative case - whoever, rather than whomever.
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Comments  (Page 5) 
CalifJimThe correct answer is "Give the package to whoever comes to the door".
Give it to whomever you like best. (You like him best.)
Give it to whoever pays the highest price. (He pays the highest price.)
It is whoever you think it is.
It is whoever you think has made a mistake.
It is whoever has made the mistake.
It is whoever is knocking at the door.
It is whomever they designated the leader.
It is whomever you believe they sent.
Give it to who(m)ever you like best. (You like him best.)
Give it to whoever pays the highest price. (He pays the highest price.)
It is whoever you think it is.
It is whoever you think has made a mistake.
It is whoever has made the mistake.
It is whoever is knocking at the door.
It is who(m)ever they designated the leader.
It is who(m)ever you believe they sent.

Except that a preposition which belongs grammatically to the whomever-clause is placed in front of the word "whomever", whomever can be replaced by whoever in ordinary usage.
AnonymousEven though it's "give the package to him" - which would require a "whom". But "he" or "she" (whoever) is the subject of the verb comes. Therefore it's whoever
Even though it's "give the package to him" - which would require the objective case. But "he" or "she" (whoever) is the subject of the verb comes. Therefore it's whoever.
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Whl626To understand this well, convert the ' whomever ' into ' any person who '

Give the package to any person who comes to the door. ( everything will be clear nowEmotion: smile )
convert the ' whomever ' into ' any person whom'
Teo
MrPedanticYes, a "carer" is someone who looks after e.g. an elderly or disabled person (often a relative), without pay. Apparently there are 6m or so in the UK, of which about 60% are women.
Did you mean 6 million?

Indeed.

In fact, it may well be 6,000,001 by now.

MrP
MrPedanticHello Guest

In both cases, 'whoever' is grammatically correct:

1. ...whoever is chosen...

Here, 'whoever' is the subject of 'is'.

2. ...to whoever makes...

Here, 'whoever' is the subject of 'makes'.

As a previous poster has mentioned, you can test for case by substituting 'the person who/whom' for 'whoever/whomever' in such sentences.

MrP
OK, I have a slightly more complicated test sentence:

"It might be good for Jack and [whoever/whomever] else is in contact with the client to ensure that we get credit for the report."

My American ear (as wrong as it often is) says that 'whoever' is correct because it is the subject complement of 'is in contact with the client', and it passes the very clever test given already in this thread of replacing 'the person who/whom' for 'whoever/whomever' (if you ignore the 'else'). Am I right to trust my ear (and the test)?

But if that is the case, can someone explain it grammatically? The way I see it, the 'to ensure' clause is a 'to-infinitive' complement clause of 'It might be good', and the 'for Jack ... client' is adverbial expressing the 'to-infinitive' clause's agency. 'Jack and whoever else... client' is then the object clause of the preposition 'for'. Does that make sense? I think it's time for me to purchase a comprehensive grammar.
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Hello Copasetic,

Welcome to English Forums!

I would trust your ear:

1. It might be good for X to do Y.

X is indeed the object (or complement) of the preposition "for"; in your example, X = "Jack and whoever else is in contact with the client".

Like "what", "whoever" can play a grammatical role in two clauses. And just as "what" in such a context can be expressed as two elements ("that which"), so "whoever" can be expressed as "the person who(m)"/"any person who(m)". Thus in a sentence like yours,

2. P might be the case for [whoever] is Q.

the first element ("the person") relates to the first clause, and serves as the object of the preposition, while the second element ("who") relates to the second clause, and serves as the subject of the verb.

(Which is a long-winded way of saying what you've already said.)

All the best,

MrP
I concur with your analysis. If the suggested responses were right, what would the subject of "comes to the door be"-- An object?
"Whomever" is used when the recipients, however many, are known before hand.

e.g. Either Mark, Jill, or Sam will be coming for this package; you will give it to whomever arrives.

"Whoever" is used when the recipient will be unkown.

e.g. You will give this package to whoever comes to the door.

I'll choose to go wherever I like and with whom. (you will know the person as you will have chosen to go with them)
I'll go with whoever wishes to come with me. (at this moment you don't know the person who might wish to go with you)
I'll go with whomever wishes to come with me. (you'll know from an already determined list who might wish to go with you)

I'm not very good at explaining things but I hope you'll understand what I mean.
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That's not quite how it's used, Anon.

Use "whomever" where it can be replaced by "the person whom".

Use "whoever" where it can be replaced by "the person who".

Thus in your examples:

1. Either Mark, Jill, or Sam will be coming for this package; you will give it to whomever arrives.

— No; "you will give it to the person who arrives"; thus whoever.

2. You will give this package to whoever comes to the door.

— Yes; "you will give this to the person who comes to the door; thus whoever.

3. I'll go with whoever wishes to come with me.

— Yes; "I'll go with the person who wishes to come with me"; thus whoever.

4. I'll go with whomever wishes to come with me.

— No; "I'll go with the person who wishes to come with me"; thus whoever.

Cf.

5. We will be happy with whoever the voters select as President.

— "we will be happy with the person whom the voters select as President"; thus whomever.

All the best,

MrP
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