Whom Sweet Whom
English grammar often raises eyebrows. Bright, educated people who can
run a computer spreadsheet with their toes are heard every day saying things like:
"Come to lunch with the boss and I."
"Before the age of sixteen, a parent should do the driving."
Each of these sentences is a gross grammatical gaff. Some kinds of
flubs are becoming so common that theyre beginning to sound right to our ears. And
in some cases they are right. What used to be regarded as errors may now be acceptable or
Take "whom" for example. Over the years, wordsmiths such as
Noah Webster have suggested ditching it altogether and letting "who" do the job
In nearly all cases today, we can use "who" instead of
"whom" in conversation or in informal writing. For instance, in John 18:4 the
ISV has Jesus say "Who are you looking for?" This
is certainly less stuffy than the NRSVs "Whom are you looking for?"
Of course, one could argue that both translations are incorrect, since
it is "wrong" to end a sentence with a preposition. This is something English
teachers still get worked up over.
In general, however, its no longer considered a crime to end a
sentence with a prepositionunless youre addressing the Supreme Court or the
So look for conversational English in the ISVeven from the lips