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I'm learning about relative pronouns, and I saw a sentence in my workbook as below:

  • He was talking with the woman the name of whom I couldn't remember.

I guess this sentence could be rewritten as follows:

  • He was talking with the woman whom I couldn't remember the name of.

Then, my questions are:

  1. Is the second sentence correct grammatically?
  2. If so, without the last word "of" in the second sentence, could it be a correct or comprehensible sentence?

Thank you for help.

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  • The second sentence without "of" will be incorrect and non-understandable. Sep 21 '20 at 14:29
  • You mean, without "of", the possessor of "the name" becomes ambiguous? If that, could "He was talking with the woman whom I couldn't remember her name. " be understandable? Sep 21 '20 at 16:36
  • Yes, it does seem ambiguous without "of". I don't think the sentence you just said makes sense either. The sentence posted in the answer, i.e use of "whose" is the best alternative. Though I my opinion the sentence mentioned in your workbook is also grammatically correct. The revised version doesn't seem wrong either, though you should probably follow what the answer points. Sep 21 '20 at 16:50
  • I understand! Thank you for your comment! Sep 21 '20 at 17:25
  • Anytime! Happy to help. Sep 21 '20 at 17:33
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"Whom" should be used to refer to the object of a verb or preposition.

He was talking with the woman the name of whom I couldn't remember.

This is correct because you are using it with the preposition "of".

He was talking with the woman whom I couldn't remember the name of.

This doesn't sound so good. You've ended the sentence with the preposition, which some people say is outright wrong, but actually is quite common in informal speech. However, the use of "whom" is considered fairly formal, and lots of native speakers get it wrong. I guess what I'm saying is that the same people who would complain about incorrect use of who/whom would also pull you up for ending a sentence on a preposition.

You'd be much better saying:

He was talking with the woman whose name I couldn't remember.

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  • Interesting to me. I've heard that "whom" is formal, and some people are strict about the way to use it. But I had no idea whether ending a sentence with a preposition or not also matters. Helpful information. Sep 21 '20 at 16:57

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