Reading & Literacy

The Last Days of ‘Whom’?

By Anthony Rebora — April 02, 2013 1 min read

Language arts teachers take note: According to Atlantic staff writer Megan Garber, the dreaded “who/whom” distinction may soon be a thing of the past. Long in decline, the pronoun “whom,” she says, has become a victim of technology, evolving usage conventions, and anti-snobbery (or “anti-twerpism”):

In a culture that values collegiality above so much else, the ability to communicate casually and convivially and non-twerpily is its own kind of capital. Casualness in writing can imply self-assurance, putting the incentives even more squarely on the side of the informal. As a result, Dear so-and-so gives way to Hi so-and-so or even Hey so-and-so. Infinitives split, wantonly. Prepositions end sentences. And, yes, whom becomes who—or disappears entirely.

But you may still have to teach it—or at least explain the quaint idea behind it—for a while: One expert quoted by Garber gives the word another 50 to 100 years, meaning it might barely outlast your current students.

(HT: The Daily Dish)

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.