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Monday, January 24, 2011

Poll Results 118

The question:

How many errors, if any, does this pair of sentences contain? "Some of the girls ask her who she likes. She demures and instead directs her gaze at me."

9 (15%)
17 (29%)
24 (41%)
8 (13%)

The answer:

Error 1: Our friend "whom" is missing in the first sentence: "Some of the girls ask her whom she likes." Now, I know that "whom" is becoming unfashionable, but it does have its uses, as in "To whom it may concern."
Error 2: The verb "demures" (not a real word) should be "demurs." "To demur" means to object or take exception to something. The adjective "demure" means reserved.


Warsaw Will said...

I was so hoping you weren't going to include 'whom'. On Language Log it was recently pronounced to have been dead for a century, and in all the EFL material I have seen and used, students are rightly advised that (British) native speakers now only use 'whom' after a preposition, and avoid doing that if at all possible, unless being very formal. But we almost never use it now for the direct object as here. I speak a fairly traditional form of RP and nobody I knows would say 'whom' in this context. It just sounds totally unnatural to me. But I like your blog :)

Warsaw Will said...

Nobody I know would say 'nobody I knows' either. Oops!

The Sentence Sleuth said...

I guess I'll forgive you! :)