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The Grammar Guru

Who/whom

"I was so amused by Jay Leno's opening monologue last night that I was still laughing after the commercials came on," Jean told Ray.

"Really? I don't find him as amusing as David Letterman, who has better material," said Ray.

"You're joking. I've never laughed at Letterman. That's why I watch Leno, for whom I have great regard."

The two were at lunch. They worked for an insurance agency.

"You know," said Ray, changing the subject, "I think we got Mr. Williams as a client. When I was explaining his policy, I used lots of insurance double-talk, and he never asked for an explanation, although he was clearly confused. It was as if I were speaking Greek! You should have seen his face! He looked like my wife, who never gets my jokes!"

They both laughed. Then they sat there, each trying to think of something to say.

"Say," said Jean, "what do you think of the new manager? I find him nice enough. He's not as nice as Leonard was, of course, about whom I never heard a bad word."

Ray shook his head. "I find the new guy's advice confusing. What does he mean when he says, 'We're faithful to his dream'? Who is he talking about?"

"You mean 'whom,' " said Jean.

"Oh, come on. It's just you and me now. Your kids aren't here!"

Jean smiled stiffly. "That's true. They'd get it right!"

Ray got up, tossed a dollar on the table for a tip and said, "See you back at the office!" Grammar. If it isn't one darn thing, it's another.

Remember: who -- he or she; whom -- him or her

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Quiz

1. The girl (who/whom) Aaron took to the prom really wanted to go with Jeremy, (who/whom) couldn't get a date and stayed home.

2. "(Who/Whom) do you think is responsible for this murder, Holmes?" asked Watson.

3. Clara, whom (who/whom) Gerard depended on for new gossip, vowed not to tell stories anymore.

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Answers

1. whom (You'd say "Aaron took her," not "Aaron took she."); who (You'd say "he couldn't get a date," not "him couldn't.")

2. who (You'd say, "Do you think he or she is responsible?" "How should I know?" replied Holmes, whose first name was Harry.)

3. whom (Gerard depended on her for juicy tidbits, and he was so distraught by her vow that he stopped eating for an entire day.)