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-- Answers to the Challenge

By Diane Sandford

1. Who. The phrase I thought is just a modifying insertion. Who is the subject of both who was he and he was who. Why? Because was is a form of the intransitive be (is, am, are, was, were, being, been, and be)  - i.e., was can take no object. Grammar is not for children.

2. Whom. You is the subject, not who. Whom is the object of the verb speak. Advice: Try not to separate whom from its preposition.

3. Who. Why? Because this is probably an abbreviation of You know who it is, where who is the subject of the objective clause. If you insist on another interpretation, then you may be right, but you may sound wrong.

4. Who. I is the subject, shall say is the verb, and who is the subject of the subordinate clause.

5. Who. Who is the subject of the subordinate clause who is honest.

6. Who. Who is the subject of you are who. Are is intransitive. Whom should not be used for who with any form of the intransitive verb be.

7. Whom. Rewrite the sentence: This is for whom? Whom is the object of the preposition for. Both verbs and prepositions can take objects.

8. Whoever. Whoever is the subject of survives. If we drop the word survives, then an implicit it is will appear to take its place. Grammar is magic.

9. Whom is the object of the transitive verb blamed.

10. Whoever. Whoever is the subject. I respected modifies whoever.

11. Who. Who is the subject of are hungry. Otto Jespersen in The Philosophy of Grammar (1924) remarks, We think is an insertion that cannot change anything in relation between the pronoun [who] and are.