Question about grammar in book dedication

socksSeptember 4, 2013

I volunteer at our library used bookstore. Yesterday I was looking at a memoir written by a national politician. Here is the dedication in the book:

"To the memory of my father and grandfather, whom I wish were here to read this book"

Is this gramatically correct?

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wanda_va

I would use "who" rather than "whom".

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 2:52PM
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alisande

The trick I learned is to ask yourself if you would use "he" or "him" if the sentence were worded another way. The person writing this dedication would say "I wish he were here," not "I wish him were here." If the answer is he, then it's correct to use "who."

But it would have been easier to just ask Wanda. :-)

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 3:37PM
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sheilajoyce_gw

No, Socks, it is not correct.

How to use WHO and WHOM reminds me of an episode when I was teaching sophomore English in Maryland. Two boys from Brooklyn decided they would help me impress the vice principal with my teaching skills and how interested my students were in my lessons when he paid a surprise visit to my class. Before I could start the lesson of the day, one of my Brooklyn transplants raised his hand to ask me when to use WHO and WHOM.

So I briefly recapped lessons they had already had on subjects and objects, gave examples of correct usage, and then wrote sentences on the board for them to complete with the right choice. They were almost always wrong. Then I would explain, test them again with an example, and again, they would choose the wrong word.

Finally it dawned on me that while my Brooklyn boys were working up their act of seeming interested and asking questions, they were ignoring my review as they focused on their ruse. They chose the word to use according to the formality of the situation. If they were trying to impress someone, they used WHOM. Otherwise, they used WHO.

It was a hilarious situation, which the vice principal appreciated as a light moment in his day.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 3:38PM
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socks

I thought it was wrong too, the whom. The author is like your kids, Sheila, trying to impress by using "whom" I guess.

When I opened the book, the error hit me between the eyes. If I were an author, I'd be so embarrassed to have a gramatical error before the book even got going. I guess the publisher didn't catch it or care.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 3:54PM
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lily316

Whom is not correct.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 4:01PM
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colleenoz

Not only is "whom" incorrect, but so is "who". The dedication is "To the _memory_ of..." A memory is not a "who", much less a "whom".
It could have been, "In memory of my father and grandfather, who..." or "To my father and grandfather, who..."

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 10:32AM
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seagrass_gw

"...both of whom I wish were here to read this book"

Would that be grammatical?

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 10:56AM
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chisue

Yes! Colleen nailed it, and Seagrass capped it with what the author intended to say.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 11:04AM
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sheilajoyce_gw

And to think that the author had editors and others to advise him!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 3:22PM
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socks

My exact thought, Sheila. Maybe they told him, but he argued and insisted he wanted it that way. If it were me, I'd be embarrassed.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 11:06PM
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bee0hio

I'm no author, but I would suppose that it really is the editor's job to find all the errors & correct them. I think it is more of a poor reflection on the editor than the politician.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 12:28AM
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jannie

As long as we know what he meant by the dedication, who cares?

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 11:43AM
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susie53_gw

I agree with Jannie. Life is way to short to complain about things like this. We have so many other things to worry about.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 3:58PM
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summershine1

I don't think anyone was complaining. It's just a matter of how to correctly do something. I find topics like this interesting and sometimes learn from them!

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 5:45PM
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suzieque

Since the person is an author, I would expect things to be grammatically correct.

It always amuses me when people come into simple questions/threads like this and say that it doesn't matter and that people should have so many more important things to worry about. I don't think that anyone's "worrying" about this. It's just a basic expectation vs the acceptance of the dumbing down of America.

This post was edited by suzieque on Sun, Sep 8, 13 at 18:04

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 6:02PM
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susie53_gw

Here we go again. If you don't agree with someone they want you to keep quiet. I hope we are all adults and can give our own opinions. When you post on a free forum expect different opinions.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 6:36PM
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rosemaryt

Wanda is right.

And I use the he/who him/whom trick myself.

Very helpful.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 6:36PM
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suzieque

Susie, sorry, but you were the one who was seeming to poo-poo others for talking about the grammar being wrong and indicating that it is too frivolous to talk about in this world of huge problems. In other words, belittling those who cared enough to discuss the question.

I wasn't saying you should keep quiet; my post was because it seemed to me that you were\ saying that people who were finding fault with the grammar were petty and shouldn't be caring about it.

It's all in interpretation. My interpretation was that you were dishing it out.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 7:32PM
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summershine1

But Susie, no one was asking for an opinion. Sometimes it's better not to offer a comment if it isn't very nice. :)

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 7:34PM
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socks

Jannie, Susie and others, I feel it's important because people are judged by the way they speak, and in this case, the way they write. The author here has high political aspirations, and if his writing is poor and has grammatical errors, it would make me think he has other failings as well. Just my two cents.

Of course there are more important things going on in our lives, but some of us have or have had careers which involve proper usage of the English language, and we still enjoy it. See? OK?

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 10:51PM
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