Playing with the Boston orchestra when she was young, she broke a string; she then walked over to the concert master, (whom\, who) handed her his violin. Which one is correct?    

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readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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This is a good question. What you are referring to is the use of the relative pronoun. The two most important points to keep in mind is how the relative pronoun is working in the sentence and how the relative pronoun is working within the relative clause itself. The case of the relative pronoun is determined by the relative clause itself and not the overall sentence.

In this sentence, the correct answer is "who," because the who represents the concert master who does something. In other words, the concert master is the subject of the relative clause, even if the concert master is not the subject of the sentence.In light of this, the sentence should read:

"Playing with the Boston orchestra when she was young, she broke a string; she then walked over to the concert master, who handed her his violin."

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mizzwillie | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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The key to these four questions you have submitted is not to get the one correct answer, but to figure out a method to determine for yourself which is the correct pronoun.  Here is one method which works well. Write the subordinate clause using she/her as the substitute for who/whom. She/her handed her his violin.  As you can see, this word is being used as a subject for this subordinate clause.  Therefore, the correct subject form of who/whom is who.  Now substitute who back into the original sentence which now reads as follows.  Playing with the Boston Orchestra when she was young, she broke a string; she then walked over to the concert master who handed her his violin.

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