You Don't Say John E. McIntyre writes about language, usage, journalism & arbitrarily chosen subjects.

Do not go there

The Baltimore Sun

A colleague has stumbled upon a Facebook group calling itself the  "‘Whom Appreciation Society,” and it is an hoot.

Their statement of purpose: “The distinction between 'who' and 'whom' is one of the most important, basic and yet sadly neglected aspects of English grammar that have faded in popularity since the advent of descriptive over prescriptive grammar. …

“Whom is dying out! The only way one can save it is to use it correctly as often as possible. Please join this group to pledge your moral support for those who work tirelessly to bring whom back into everyday circulation.”

I think you know what to expect there: pomposity that dwarfs my feeble efforts, whingeing about how illiterate nearly everyone else is, drifting from whom to deplore innocuous usages of informal speech, clutching musty shibboleths to the bosom, &c., &c.

If you have a mordant taste in humor, you might enjoy a visit, but I do not advise lingering there. You will be tempted to engage the members in discussion, and there lies folly. They are, as that tribe invariably tends to be, impervious to evidence and argument. They know what they know, and there’s an end on’t.

I approve of that group, and approve heartily. Let them join, fret, and congratulate one another. It is a reservation for the peeververein. Think of it as a cordon sanitaire, keeping the disease from spreading among the general population.

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