I play online multiplayer game clash of clan. Two native English speakers were talking with each other. The first one showed(appeared?) after some days, and then the other person said:

Missed who

The speaker is most probably from New Zealand; if not then Canadian for sure. What I am confused about is that I think the correct way should be to say, "Missed whom". I can think of sentences like:

  • I missed you.
  • I missed him.
  • I missed whom?
  • Whom did I miss?

The you, him, whom all are in object form. So, I think correct usage would be missed whom not missed who?

Is the who usage a vernacular, different figurative meaning, or actually the correct usage?

  • Many people say who for whom. Who did I miss is very common. – Lambie Jun 7 '17 at 18:53

Whom is markedly formal and uncommon in normal speech. In almost all positions, who is far more common. That doesn't mean you'll never see whom, but most of the time who is the right choice.

So when is whom still around? Well, in particularly formal speech it can be used when you'd have traditionally expected it, but that's not especially common. You're most likely to see whom when it's the object of a fronted preposition, because fronting prepositions is itself markedly formal:

To whom am I speaking? (formal)
Who am I speaking to? (normal)

But in echo questions, there is a strong preference for who no matter what:

You gave the package to who? (echo question)

Your example is also an echo question, so in natural speech who is much more likely than whom. To most speakers, whom is rather strange in echo questions:

I missed who? (echo question)

Although you can probably find someone who accepts or produces whom in this position, they'll be in the minority.

| improve this answer | |
  • I still feel perfectly comfortable in the minority. – Ronald Sole Jun 7 '17 at 17:06

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