Wednesday, December 05, 2007

It is not funny, McGee

Q: Is there really a time and a place for everything?
A: Yes.
Q: Even grammar?
A: Yes, even grammar.
The 1A teaser at right looked worrisome, and those worries were borne out by the hed on the inside story. "Whom do we appreciate?" isn't a hypercorrection, in that it doesn't end up being "wrong" (unlike, say, "The Pope listed all those whom he felt would rise from the dead"). It's the kind of thing that gives editors a bad name, because it suggests that for all our supposed attention to detail, we're sometimes very, very bad at paying attention to what goes on in real life.
"Whom" is a lovely word with lots of friends and its own cottage humor industry. What it ain't is part of the idiomatic cheer-like phrase "2-4-6-8: Who do we appreciate?" That phrase doesn't need any extra Grammar®. As our nice friends at the Webster plant suggest, it's peculiar unto itself in grammar*. And it's fine the way it is. You don't "fix" it by adding "whom." All you do is annoy the crocodiles in the moat.
* Or, as in "Monday week," in "having a meaning that cannot be derived form the conjoined meanings of its elements."

3 Comments:

Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

Or, as Safire would have us say, "2 4 6 8, which person do we appreciate?"

6:25 PM, December 05, 2007  
Blogger fev said...

Shh. Demons are often summoned by the mention of their names.

9:37 PM, December 05, 2007  
Anonymous kelly d said...

..."having a meaning that cannot be derived form the conjoined meanings of its elements."

"Form" for "from" is one of my recurrent typos. Glad to see I have company. Also, I can't seem to get "-tion" right the first try.

1:33 PM, December 07, 2007  

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