Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Syntactic Hypercorrection



On the front page of the print version of today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is a nice example of a common syntactic hypercorrection in English, the substitution of "whom" for "who". This particular example is interesting. Since "whom" occurs here in a non-case-marked position (if you don't assume ellipsis) and Objective is the default case in such positions in English (e.g., "Will it be Danny? – No, not him/*he."), that might have reinforced the headline writer's (likely unconscious) decision to use the Objective "whom."

5 comments:

vp said...

The author is in venerable company: the King James Version of the Bible has a similar slip:

"Whom do men say that I am?" Mark 8:27

Mark Louden said...

Excellent example!

squires said...

Beautiful!

Mr. Verb said...

Beautiful, yeah, if maybe not as beautiful as the Ricky Weeks homerun that's also featured in the picture!

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of sentences like:

"To whom did you give that to?"