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It is XY through whom we have established non-standard relations with our partners.

I would like to express that thanks to a particular person we gained our goals. Do you find the form "through whom" OK in that sentence?

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    Yes, it's correct. The way to figure out if "whom" is correct in a case like this is to try to turn it around: We did it through him. Because we use "him", whom is the correct phrasing. Through whom did we do it? Through him. – stangdon Feb 10 '16 at 15:39
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    Yup that's correct. @stangdon gave you a perfect piece of advice (the gold standard rule of thumb) I just wanted to add that whom is an object pronoun an is always the proper choice when it's preceded by a preposition as it is in your example. And yes, it's definitely standard in AmE and BrE, if not globally. – Giambattista Mar 11 '16 at 21:28
  • But who is generally used in echo questions even when it's the object of a fronted preposition, so "always" might be too strong. – snailcar Mar 12 '16 at 0:10
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"It's XY through whom ..." or "it's through XY that we have ..."

The sentence is correct grammatically. You can also say:

We have established non-standard relations with our partners through XY.

However, the first sentence, which is a cleft sentence with the use of it's, emphasizes the subject XY, and the second sentence is a simple sentence.

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  • It depends on your writing style (I prefer the cleft/complex sentence construction personally). But there's certainly nothing wrong with your example and the OP. That's more of a style preference than a prescriptive rule. And I interpreted the question as being about the proper use of the word whom, which many learners (and bizarrely,native speakers too) struggle with. That's my only objection to your answer. Sometimes people have questions about particular words or constructions, but we tend to ignore them and give an answer based on our preference (I'm guilty of that too, so no offense). – Giambattista Mar 11 '16 at 21:49
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It is grammatically correct, but rather phrase it like this:

It is through XY that we have established non-standard relations with our partners.

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  • Why would that be better? – Era Mar 11 '16 at 20:35
  • Brevity.......... – user29942 Mar 11 '16 at 20:36
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    There's no substantiative difference between your answer and the OP's example. That's simply a style choice that you've made; not a prescriptive grammar rule. You've just swapped one pronoun for another, except I'd argue that whom is a better choice than that when people are involved. But again: style choice – Giambattista Mar 11 '16 at 21:54
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It is correct as long as you have a subject after "whom" - But remember, it is very formal. Just like one of the answers above I'd rather use "that"

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