Sunday, June 06, 2010

For who the bell tolls

For the world's longest-suffering pronoun, the final indignity is that there is no final indignity:

Twenty mostly elderly people were killed in the tragedy during a sunny fall sightseeing cruise, 19 of who were from southeast Michigan.

That's a lot of generic awful news writing to pack into a single graf: the ill-placed "mostly," the vague "elderly," the irrelevant "tragedy," and the sheer lonesomeness of the poor clause at the end. But it's the "of who" that makes this one stand out. One wonders (again) whether the folks downtown realize how much better they'd do at the who-whom distinction if they just tossed a coin.


Blogger Brian B said...

They are tossing a coin. You just don't notice when it comes up the right way.

4:29 PM, June 06, 2010  
Blogger fev said...

Heh. No more stats classes for you!

6:13 PM, June 06, 2010  
Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

Wow. I would have sworn that "prep + whom" was the last remaining refuge...

In 1921 Edward Sapir said that

"within a couple of hundred years from to-day not even the most learned jurist will be saying 'Whom did you see?' By that time the 'whom' will be as delightfully archaic as the Elizabethan 'his' for 'its'. No logical or historical argument will avail to save this hapless 'whom'."

Halfway there, and it looks like he was right. (I love the hyphen in "to-day" there, myself.)

10:51 AM, June 07, 2010  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home