A message to whoever wrote this

This is a message to whoever wrote this for Yahoo! Finance: You used the wrong pronoun.

Although it looks like you’re dealing with the object of the preposition to, you’re not. The entire clause starting with whomever lasts… is the object of the preposition. The writer should have used whoever, which is the subject of the verb lasts.

Here’s a good rule from grammarbook.com:

The presence of whoever or whomever indicates a dependent clause. Use whoever or whomever to agree with the verb in that dependent clause, regardless of the rest of the sentence.

Nice try. But wrong

Looks like this Yahoo! Style writer was trying to be excruciatingly correct, but wound up being completely wrong:


The word she should have used is whoever, because it’s the subject of the verb wears.

If you’re unsure if you should use who or whom (or whoever or whomever), go with who (or whoever). You’ve got a 50-50 chance of being correct. If you use whom or whomever and you’re wrong, you look like a pretentious high school dropout.

To whoever is reading this

To whoever is reading this: The Yahoo! Sports writer is confused about the use of whomever (which is the objective case of whoever and is used as the object of a preposition) and whoever (which can be the subject of a verb like was listening):

to whomever spo

This writer isn’t alone in his confusion. To many people, it appears that whomever is the object of the preposition to, but it’s the entire clause that’s the object of the preposition. And whoever should be the subject of the verb in that clause.

If you’re not into being grammatically nitpicky and you’re faced with the choice between who and whom or whoever and whomever, go with who or whoever. In more the half the cases, you’ll be correct, and even if you’re wrong, your writing will sound more authentic and less stilted and formal.

Whoever wrote this needs an editor

Whoever is responsible for this grammatical gaffe on Yahoo! Celebrity needs an editor:

whomever cel sty

Maybe the writer thought whomever sounded cultured or erudite. But the word is the subject of the verb is and the subjective pronoun (who or whoever) is called for.

Whoever decided this was correct…

Whoever decided that whomever was correct in this excerpt from Yahoo! Style was wrong:

whomever decided sty

The pronoun whomever is the objective case of whoever, meaning that it can be the object of a preposition, but not the subject of a verb like, oh, say decided.

Sometimes I think writers use whom and whomever because they think it sounds more sophisticated or erudite. When used correctly, it might.

This is for whoever wrote that

Whoever wrote this for the Yahoo! front page has a problem with grammar:

fp whomever

The pronouns whoever and whomever signal a dependent clause; the choice of pronoun to use depends on its function in the dependent clause. In this case, it is the subject of the verb shot; therefore, the correct word is whoever.

Can you pinpoint the location?

Can you pinpoint the location of whoever’s writing this for Yahoo! Tech?

whomever tech

I’d say the writer is located at a keyboard far removed from a competent editor. A good editor would have changed the objective case whomever to the  nominative whoever, the subject of the verb is ordering.

Speak with whomever you choose

Edward Snowden is free to speak with whomever he chooses. That’s what the Yahoo! News folks should have written — if they wanted to be grammatically correct:

news whoever

Whoever thinks this is right

Whoever thinks that this is correct, please call the lead editor at Yahoo! Shine; I think they have a writing job for you:

See, Shine doesn’t require that writers actually be familiar with the English language and grammar. If you think you’ll sound more intelligent and educated by using whom instead of who and whomever instead of whoever, you might fit right in. Never mind that the correct word is whoever (because it’s the subject of the verb); whomever just sounds so much brainier.

If you don’t think there’s a difference between two words that sound alike (but are spelled differently and have different meanings), then you should join the hordes of Shine fans, who seem to be oblivious to mistakes like this:

And if you think any lady looks chic shopping at Target, apply now to Shine. But if you think there’s a word missing that totally changes the meaning of this sentence, you may be too smart for the job:

Whoever reads this …

… will be appalled by the writer’s grammar.

This may be a case of “hyper-correction” by the Yahoo! Shine writer. Hyper-correction is the result of a writer’s insecurity about grammar and the need to seem more learned than she actually is. The correct word is whoever, which is the nominative case like the pronouns he and I. It’s used whenever the pronoun is the subject of a verb.

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