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Is "whom" in that sentence correct?

She's a mother of one of my students whom I am teaching on Skype

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  • Which sentence are you asking about? The one in your title? Or the one in your question? Also, what do you think might be wrong with sentence? Questions that only ask "Is this correct?" without explaining anything else are typically closed as proofreading requests.
    – J.R.
    Jun 21 '18 at 14:37
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Yes, it's correct, although most speakers would shorten I am to I'm.

To be sure, break the sentence into its two main parts.

  1. She is the mother of one of my students
  2. I am teaching this student on Skype.

This student is the object of the second sentence. So the relative pronoun required is whom rather than who.

You might simplify you sentence as:

She is the mother of a student whom I teach.

However, your sentence raises several questions.

The first is whether the average English speaker would use the more formal whom (which is steadily losing ground among native English speakers) in the place of the more common who.

The second is whether you are teaching the mother or her child. The sentence does not make this clear.

Thirdly, she is the mother, not a mother of the student,

And finally you are probably teaching the student via or through Skype rather than on it.

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/usage/who-or-whom

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  • Your point about I am / I'm is a bit superfluous here. Sure it is often abbreviated in speech, but enunciating "whom I'm" is trickier. If we are trying to make the sentence more casual then it works without either who or whom. I think if anyone is so formal as to vocalise "whom" would continue to say "I am".
    – Astralbee
    Jun 21 '18 at 13:44
  • @Astralbee Strangely, speaking as a long-standing whomer, I found whom I'm rather easier to deal with than whom I am. But this is the freedom that language gives us. Jun 21 '18 at 13:47
  • +1 for calling out the possible ambiguity of it being the mother or the child who's being taught. (It would be quite a stretch to assume that your student is the mother of a student child, and the sentence construction implies otherwise, but it's still possible to take it the wrong way.) Jun 21 '18 at 15:30
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Whom is correct in this sentence. You use "whom" when referring to the object of the verb.

She's a mother of one of my students whom I am teaching on Skype.

The classic test is to see if the verb works with "he/she" or "him/her".

In this case the verb is teaching, and you would say "teaching him", not "teaching he". This confirms that it is the object of the verb, and "whom" is correct.

However the sentence would be better as:

She's the mother of one of my students whom I am teaching on Skype.

(unless you deliberately meant to imply the student has two moms, which is possible these days)

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