General Writing and Grammar Help/who vs. whom


Here's a sentence I came across and want to know if who or whom is correct.

As I hesitatingly approached the phone, the 10-year-old boy whom society forces adults to suppress could no longer be inhibited.

Is it correct to use whom and why?

Thanks, Paula, for your question. I hope you ask more.

"Whom"--the objective form--is correct. The object of the verb "to suppress" is "boy," and since the pronoun "whom" stands in for "boy," it must also be in the objective case.

Please follow up if the above is not entirely clear.

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Richard Johnson


I specialize in grammar. I can however answer any question except homework questions--usually the same day--concerning English grammar, usage, or (non-fiction) writing style, on the basis of the American practice. All answers are explained, and I encourage follow-up.


I'm a retired editor and a lifelong student of this subject. My library includes a great many works to which I've referred through the years. I currently rely largely on the sixteenth edition of The Chicago Manual of Style supplemented, where appropriate, by Long, The New College Grammar.

For over 30 years I edited the newsletter of my own organization, which had different names but was last known as

BA, Brooklyn College. Advanced studies in economics and political science.

Awards and Honors
For many years a member of Mensa.

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