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    Who are the NERD fund donors Mr Snyder?

    Raise the curtain.

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    Your theory is correct, but your practice is wrong (none / 0) (#15)
    by Nathan Inks on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 01:28:11 AM EST
    "Who" is used for a subject, and "whom" is used for an object.  You are correct about that.  The easy way to tell the difference is to look at what the answer to the question would be.  If the answer is "he", you use "who"; if the answer is "him", you use "whom".

    So for "Who decided this?"  You would say, "He decided this."

    Now let's answer your question.  If you asked the judge who might satisfy the 'standing' question, you would say, "The judge said he might satisfy the 'standing' question", not "The judge said him might satisfy the 'standing' question."

    You're getting caught up with "who might satisfy the 'standing' question" as being the direct object of the phrase and thinking that because it's a direct object, "whom" is proper, but you need to look at what role "who/whom" plays in the clause that it is in, not the whole sentence.  In the clause "who/whom might satisfy the 'standing' question", the who/whom is the subject.

    The other way to look at it is to look at the verb itself.

    In your examples, we have "Who decided this?" and "Whom do you think we should support?"  In the first example, decided is the verb, and the subject is clearly "Who", not "this".  The "who" is doing the deciding.  In the second example, the verb is "support", and the subject is "you".

    In the clause in dispute, we have "who/whom might satisfy the 'standing' question".  The verb is "satisfy", and the only other noun or pronoun in that clause is "question".  Clearly "question" cannot be the subject of the clause, so the subject is "who/whom", meaning that the subject pronoun "who" should be used, not the object pronoun "whom".

    "Whom" is the object, but it is the subject of the entire direct object phrase.  When you answer the question, you would say, "The judge said he might satisfy the 'standing' question", and "he might satisfy the 'standing' question" is the object, but you would not use the object pronoun "him".  Again, you have to look at how the pronoun acts in the clause that it is in, not the sentence as a whole.


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