Home TEFL forum Grammar & Vocabulary I would give money to whoever / whomever need / needs it.

I would give money to whoever / whomever need / needs it.

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  • tanelaine
    Participant
    26 May, 2013 at 11:37
    • Total posts: 4

    If I were rich, I would give money to whoever / whomever need / needs it.

    Which is the word in each case that I should use? Thanks.

    dan
    Moderator
    27 May, 2013 at 8:05
    • Total posts: 758

    Reply To: I would give money to whoever / whomever need / needs it.

    The grammatically correct sentence is:

    If I were rich, I would give money to whomever needs it.

    "whomever" is the indirect object in this sentence. When "who" acts as an object it becomes "whom". Bear in mind though that is is uncommon these days to hear "whom" in spoken English.

    who/whom/whoever/whomever etc takes the third person singular form of the verb, so "needs".

    BillDavisWords
    Participant
    28 January, 2014 at 5:52
    • Total posts: 2

    Reply To: I would give money to whoever / whomever need / needs it.

    This is a tricky one, and many people get it wrong. While it seems like "who(m)ever" is the object of the preposition "to," and therefore should be "whoMever," that is NOT the case.

    The object of "to" is the ENTIRE CLAUSE "Who(m)ever needs it." So, the wh- pronoun is the SUBJECT of that clause, and of the verb "needs," and therefore the correct sentence is, "I would give money to WHOEVER needs it."

    MarinaA
    Participant
    14 April, 2014 at 17:13
    • Total posts: 9

    Reply To: I would give money to whoever / whomever need / needs it.

    This is a tricky one, and many people get it wrong. While it seems like “who(m)ever” is the object of the preposition “to,” and therefore should be “whoMever,” that is NOT the case.

    The object of “to” is the ENTIRE CLAUSE “Who(m)ever needs it.” So, the wh- pronoun is the SUBJECT of that clause, and of the verb “needs,” and therefore the correct sentence is, “I would give money to WHOEVER needs it.”

    This does seem a tricky one. I too feel like the correct sentence would be the one you suggest – I would give money to whoever needs it. But then, I wonder, if I would ask a question, wouldn’t it be correct to say: WHOM would you give your money to?

    I am starting to have doubts.


    Background in Applied Linguistics and Social Studies. Likes the creative process in using an L2. Chomsky addict. Obsessive-compulsive about cats. Active contributor to http://teachers.onlineenglishexpert.com/

    BillDavisWords
    Participant
    14 April, 2014 at 19:28
    • Total posts: 2

    Reply To: I would give money to whoever / whomever need / needs it.

    Mariana, you are correct. The question should be "Whom should I give it to?" or "To whom should I give it?" (although many speakers would also use "who" in both of these examples.)

    A couple of differences:
    In your example, the "whom" is:
    – only the object of the preposition
    – is not the "whomever" form

    In the original example, "I would give money to who(m)ever needs it."
    – "who" is the SUBJECT of "needs" in the embedded clause
    – the entire clause "Whoever needs it" is the object of the preposition "who"

    It is because of those differences, that the correct forms are:
    – Who needs it?
    – I will give it to whoever needs it.
    – Whom should I give it to?
    – To whom should I give it?

    "Whoever needs it" can also be promoted to direct object:
    – I will give whoever needs it a large amount of money

    …or promoted to subject:
    – Whoever needs this money will receive my gift.

    So think of "whoever needs it" as a unit. And the original sentence is like this:
    – I will give this money {to [whoever needs it.]}
    NOT:
    – I will give this money {[to whomever] needs it.}

    Hope that helps a bit!

    -Bill

    dan
    Moderator
    15 April, 2014 at 13:12
    • Total posts: 758

    Reply To: I would give money to whoever / whomever need / needs it.

    Bill is absolutely right – I stand corrected. Must have been having a bad day!

    Dan

    MarinaA
    Participant
    19 April, 2014 at 14:52
    • Total posts: 9

    Reply To: I would give money to whoever / whomever need / needs it.

    Found another easy to understand explanation here: http://www.grammarbook.com/grammar/whoever.asp


    Background in Applied Linguistics and Social Studies. Likes the creative process in using an L2. Chomsky addict. Obsessive-compulsive about cats. Active contributor to http://teachers.onlineenglishexpert.com/

    MarinaA
    Participant
    19 April, 2014 at 14:53
    • Total posts: 9

    Reply To: I would give money to whoever / whomever need / needs it.

    Bill, thanks for the explanation. It was quite helpful!


    Background in Applied Linguistics and Social Studies. Likes the creative process in using an L2. Chomsky addict. Obsessive-compulsive about cats. Active contributor to http://teachers.onlineenglishexpert.com/

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