6

In the following excerpt

Prominent absentees from the event apart from Punia, were cricketer Ravindra Jadeja, Asian Games gold-medallist shot-putter Tejinder Pal Singh Toor, and silver-winner quartermiler Mohammed Anas, all of who were picked for the Arjuna award this year.

I think instead of who, whom should be used. Because I have never seen who in these sentences.

Source: The Hindu

  • You're more likely to hear this a) [SUBJECT], who were all picked for the Arjuna award this year. – Mari-Lou A Aug 30 at 14:49
  • 3
    When citing a phrase, PLEASE include the ENTIRE sentence. – Mari-Lou A Aug 30 at 14:57
  • In British English this is one of the rare situations when "whom" is still commonly used. (US English seems to use it more often). But you can avoid the question by using "all of which". – alephzero Aug 30 at 23:47
9

You are correct

It should be “whom”.

✔️Yes: All of whom were picked for the Arjuna award this year.

It’s whom because of the word “of”. (It’s acting like an object, not a subject. The technical terms are “objective and subjective case.”) (See here (1) and (2))

You would say “all of him,” not “all of he”, so whom is correct.

But whom is disappearing from some contexts

In spoken English, you won’t hear whom too often, but it remains “correct”.

Whom remains important in business writing, technical writing and formal contexts.

Many English speakers do not know the difference between who and whom. In some places, it hardly matters, because using who when you should use whom is so common that it’s not even considered much of a mistake. — Lawless English

There is plenty of discussion here on ELL as well.

  • The OP misquoted, I also thought that the example sounded abrupt and weird until I looked at the source. I have included the relevant snippet. – Mari-Lou A Aug 30 at 14:56
  • 1
    I will adjust the answer to compensate. Thank you! – whiskeychief Aug 30 at 17:08
5

You are correct, it should be "whom".

By the traditional rules, "who" is used for subjects and "whom" for objects. "Who asked the question?" "Who" is the subject, the person doing the action, so that is correct. "You asked whom?" "Whom" is the object, the person receiving the action, so that is correct.

The word "of" is a preposition, and so what follows is the object of the preposition.

The example you give may be a little confusing because "who" sort of sounds like it's the subject. If you said, "These are the people who were picked for the Arjuna award", "who" would be correct, because "who" is the subject. But when you say "all of whom were picked", the subject is "all", not "who" or "whom". "Whom" is the object of the preposition "of".

Note that in modern English we have few cases where we use different forms of a word for subject versus object, mostly just pronouns: who versus whom, he versus him, etc. This is unlike some other languages where there are routinely different endings for almost every noun. So many English speakers are getting sloppy about who versus whom. You'll often hear people say things like, "You gave it to who?" when technically it should be "to whom". If you go by the principle that whatever the majority of people say and write is by definition correct, then "whom" is obsolete or near obsolete.

  • The error here is analogous to another that I occasionally see: “the subject of these books are”, taking the number of the last noun in the phrase to be the number of the phrase as a whole. – Anton Sherwood Aug 30 at 22:35
  • @AntonSherwood Yes, similar idea. Your example is a very common error, especially when the sentence gets more complex and it gets easy to "lose track" of what the actual subject is. – Jay Sep 2 at 16:15
4

Directly after a preposition is the place which most tenaciously hangs on to whom - perhaps because this is a context where there is no doubt that whom is the (traditionally) correct choice.

Not everybody uses whom even here, but I think anybody who uses it at all will use it after a preposition such as of.

  • This is especially true in writing, and this is writing, sports journalism. I think the distinction is important. – Lambie Aug 30 at 15:44
  • 1
    @BillJ no, it isn't. The subject is the NP all of whom. – Colin Fine Aug 30 at 17:22
  • Yes, better to simply say that following a preposition (like "to"), accusative "whom" is the norm. – BillJ Aug 30 at 17:38

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