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Is this sentence gramatically correct? It is Bob and she who everyone wants to hear.

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englishrocks1 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 26, 2013 at 12:12 AM via web

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Is this sentence gramatically correct?

It is Bob and she who everyone wants to hear.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 26, 2013 at 2:35 AM (Answer #1)

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No. Grammatically, "who" is incorrect. Because everyone is actually the subject of the relative clause--everyone is the subject of the predicate wants--the relative pronoun should be whom, objective case, since it is the direct object of the predicate hear.

The method to use to determine which word is the subject of a relative clause and whether, then, to use who or whom is as follows:

  1. Determine the predicate of the relative clause. The action word(s) is/are the verbs that act as the predicate(s) of the clause. In this case, the verb wants is the predicate.
  2. Ask "Who + wants?"
  3. Since the answer is everyone, then everyone is the real subject, not the Nominative Case pronoun, who.
  4. So, since the role of subject has already been filled, the Nominative Case relative pronoun cannot be used. Instead, the Objective Case must be written (whom).

To make this sentence correct, therefore, write,

It is Bob and she whom everyone wants to hear. 

*Note that she is correct in the compound Predicate Nominative after "is."

*It must also be noted that the use of passive voice is not recommended for most writing. ("It is Bob and she"). So if revision of the sentence is permitted, the student can rewrite the sentence as follows:

Bob and she are the speakers whom everyone wants to hear.

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