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Question
Dear Ted:

Which of the following sentences is grammatically correct?

1) The clerk who I was speaking to has left the building.

2) The clerk whom I was speaking to has left the building.

3) The clerk to whom I was speaking has left the building.

Also, are the above sentences correctly punctuated?

As always, many, many thanks for your valuable help.

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

Which of the following sentences is grammatically correct?

1) The clerk who I was speaking to has left the building.

2) The clerk whom I was speaking to has left the building.

3) The clerk to whom I was speaking has left the building.

Also, are the above sentences correctly punctuated?

*** The first sentence is incorrect, because "who" should be the objective case "whom."

The second sentence is acceptable in casual English. It is not a good sentence, however, because "whom" should follow "to."

The third sentence is the BEST.  Rearrange the words:  I was speaking to WHOM.  You must have the objective case pronoun [WHOM] to serve as the object of the preposition "to."

The sentences are correctly punctuated.

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

Education/Credentials
B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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