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I want to ask this question:

Suppose I know that Tom said something about Lisa, but I don't know who he said it to. So now I want to ask who Tom was talking to when he said this thing. Which one is correct?

  • Who Tom said this word about?
  • Who did Tom say this word?
  • Whom Tom said this word?
  • or may any other correct option ...

Edited version to more clarifications as @FumbleFingers suggested:

Suppose we have persons A, B, and C that I know them:

Person A has told a thing to Person B (I was not there). I know the thing that person A has told but to who I don't know. Now I am going to find the person who person A told her/him a thing. So I question from the person C (= who knows the person that person A has told her/him a thing). With included the thing that was told.

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    Okay, I'm imagining that Tom said something about Lisa. But I'm not sure exactly what you now want to ask. The only thing that makes sense to me is you want to know Who Tom was speaking to? (when he said something about Lisa). Note that we don't use this word to refer to something someone said, except in unusual circumstances that I won't go into in a comment. Possibly what you're trying to say is something like Who did Tom say this [thing] about? Where pedants might tell you you should use whom rather than who, but you can safely ignore what they say. – FumbleFingers Dec 19 '18 at 16:46
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    Right - you want to ask (about) who[m] Tom said this thing to. This gets very tricky, because there's confusion between whether you're using the form to ask about [something you want to know about], as in I'm asking about what Tom said (asking for details concerning what he said) , or whether you're asking Who Tom was talking about (the person he was referring to, not the person he was talking to). I'm afraid your English isn't good enough to clarify what you mean unless you use a lot more words to describe it (preferably without using the word "about" :) – FumbleFingers Dec 19 '18 at 17:46
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    ...can you please edit the question text to make it clear exactly what information you would be asking for (in the hypothetical situation where Tom said something, but there's some specific aspect regarding either what he said, or who he said it to) that you still don't know, and wish to find out by asking a precise question. – FumbleFingers Dec 19 '18 at 17:51
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    @FumbleFingers Thank you for your attention. I clarify my meaning like this (suppose we have persons A, B, and C that I know them): Person A has told a thing to Person B (I was not there). I know the thing that person A has told but to who I don't know. Now I am going to find the person who person A told her/him a thing. So I question from the person C (= who knows the person that person A has told her/him a thing) - I am sorry if my English is not well. – M. Afrashteh Dec 19 '18 at 21:25
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    Thank you for that full clarification. I'm guessing that you haven't noticed the "Edit" button underneath your question, which allows you to amend the text that you first wrote. Although I don't have "moderator" powers, I have enough "reputation points" to make edits to other people's questions (most users can only edit their own questions), so I will do that for yours. In case you didn't realise, the reason it's important to include all relevant clarifications in the question text itself is because comments like ours here may be deleted later. – FumbleFingers Dec 20 '18 at 12:58
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Person A (named Tom) has said something to Person B. However, Person B's identity is a mystery. Who is Person B? We ask Person C. These sentences should work:

  • Who was Tom speaking to?

  • Who was Tom speaking with?

  • Who was Tom talking to?

  • Who did Tom tell? (this means he told them a certain specific fact)

Another scenario. Person A (named Tom) has said something about/regarding Person B. However, Person B's identity is a mystery. Who is Person B? We ask Person C.

  • Who was Tom talking about?

  • Who was Tom referring to?

Third scenario. The topic of conversation is a rock concert, for example.

  • Who did Tom tell the story to?

  • Who was Tom discussing the show with?

  • Who was Tom talking to about the show?

  • With whom was Tom discussing the show?

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    No, he is asking specifically about a case where Tom said something about Lisa (not to Lisa). – wolfdawn Dec 20 '18 at 8:36
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    @M.Afrashteh , added more examples. – Sam Dec 20 '18 at 9:05
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    @M.Afrashteh Did it say that about the original sentence "Who did Tom tell the story to?" ? That sentence is not formal writing. It is more like colloquial, spoken English. So, that's possibly the reason for the error. Also, in the most common usage, you do not tell a word to someone, you say the word. – Sam Dec 20 '18 at 9:53
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    @Sam: There are only two possible reasons someone might claim that Who did Tom tell the story to? is "not formal writing", and they're both wrong. Even the strictest pedants have largely given up telling people to use whom instead of who for the objective case. And the idea that a sentence should not end with a preposition (to) was never valid in the first place. – FumbleFingers Dec 20 '18 at 13:13
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    @FumbleFingers : Agreed. Sounds very reasonable. Just trying to figure out an explanation for the Grammarly error. – Sam Dec 20 '18 at 13:24
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Do you know who was he talking about?

.

Who did Tom say this about?

.

Who was he speaking of?

or the last two suggestions Same made. :)

  • I think this one you said is correct: "Who did Tom tell the thing about?" However, I am not sure. – M. Afrashteh Dec 20 '18 at 8:43
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    @M.Afrashteh No, definitely don't use "Who did Tom tell the thing about". – wolfdawn Dec 20 '18 at 16:23

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