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Source (page 5)

  1. Soon, Haring opened a store which he called the Pop Shop, which he hoped would attract a broad range of people. While somewhat controversial among street artists, some of whom accused Haring of selling out, the Pop Shop changed the way people thought about the relationship between art and business.
  2. Soon, Haring opened a store which he called the Pop Shop, which he hoped would attract a broad range of people. While somewhat controversial among street artists, some of them accused Haring of selling out, the Pop Shop changed the way people thought about the relationship between art and business.

Generally, WHOM is similar in use to HIM/HER/THEM and WHO is similar in use to HE/SHE/THEY. Hence, the text book discusses the use of WHO vs. WHOM instead of WHOM vs. THEM.

I'm a confused with the use of WHOM and THEM. Please explain.

  • @Vinokanth FWIW, whom is more appropriate in your sentence (after the edit). You could review "relative pronouns" and "relative clauses" in your textbook. – Damkerng T. Oct 15 '16 at 17:51
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While somewhat controversial among street artists, some of whom accused Haring of selling out.

While somewhat controversial among street artists, some of them accused Haring of selling out.

I don't see this as a choice between whom or them but rather simple grammar to make the sentence correct. In the first example, "some of whom ..." is an adjective phrase that modifies "artists". In the second, everything after the comma could be considered a separate sentence.

What makes this sentence quirky is the "while". This makes the entire first part of each sentence an adjectival phrase that modifies "Pop Shop".

With the first sentence there are phrases both before and after the comma. Two phrases do not make a complete sentence, so the first sentence is incomplete and grammatically incorrect. However, the second sentence is also wrong. Everything before the comma modifies a noun that's not even part of the sentence, so it makes little sense and is generally just poor English.

Here's how the sentences ought to be written:

This shop was somewhat controversial among street artists, some of whom accused Haring of selling out.

This shop was somewhat controversial among street artists, and some of them accused Haring of selling out.

Given the intended meaning of both sentences, there's no reason to use "while", period. Otherwise, you can use either "whom" or "them", as both convey the same meaning.

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