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I just came across a problem (not homework), from somebody I know.

I wish I knew the answer to this grammar problem but I actually have no clue about this one, so I couldn't answer it.

The question was this:

Mr.Ferrara will be interviewing two candidates for the position of sales director today; both of ____ are qualified for the job.

a) whom
b) them

Could someone please tell me which one should fit in the blank?

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  • 1
    With a comma, an easy way to answer this question would be to rephrase the sentence: "Mr.Ferrara will be interviewing two candidates for the position of sales director today, ____ are both qualified for the job." Of course, the obvious answer here is "who", so the answer to your question is "whom." If you wanted to use "them", you would make two separate sentences: Mr.Ferrara will be interviewing two candidates for the position of sales director today. Both of them are qualified for the job. You could also use a connector like "because." – MorganFR May 25 '16 at 13:02
  • Here's a clue: if "today" were followed by a semicolon instead of a comma, the answer would be different. – Greg Lee May 25 '16 at 13:06
  • Sorry, it seems I made a mistake on the phrase. It should've been semicolon instead of comma. I've edited the question. So if it is a semicolon, the answer is "them"? – Seyong Cho May 25 '16 at 13:58
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    Now that you changed the comma to a semicolon, "them" is appropriate. – MorganFR May 25 '16 at 13:59
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The answer to you question is "them", because of the semicolon. Consider the following

Mr.Ferrara will be interviewing two candidates for the position of sales director today, both of whom are qualified for the job.

The two clauses are interdependent.

Mr.Ferrara will be interviewing two candidates for the position of sales director today; both of them are qualified for the job.

The two clauses are strongly related but independent.

Mr.Ferrara will be interviewing two candidates for the position of sales director today. Both of them are qualified for the job.

The two clauses are in different related sentences.

Mr.Ferrara will be interviewing two candidates for the position of sales director today because both of them are qualified for the job.

The two clauses are related and linked by a linking word.

To help you fill in the blank, you might wanna try changing the sentence a bit

Mr.Ferrara will be interviewing two candidates for the position of sales director today; ____ are both qualified for the job.

Then you have to try and fill the blank with either they or who, which is slightly easier. The previous rules apply to those two clauses aswell.

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