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Q: Should this phrase be whoever or whomever?


A. Whoever" is correct. "Whoever" is the subject form, and "whomever" is the object form.
The object of the preposition "of" is actually the entire clause, "whoever is setting the fires." In that clause, the word "whoever" is the subject of the verb "is setting."

Here's a different example:  I will choose whomever I like.
"Whomever" is correct.  This is because the object of the verb "will choose" is actually the entire clause "whomever I like." In that clause, the word "whomever" is the direct object of the verb "like."

When entire clauses are used as objects of verbs and prepositions, it is difficult for many people to understand and choose the right form.

Q: In the following sentence, I'm letting Don know that he and others received the same letter. Would I use "yourself" or "you" in the first example or do you have other suggestions?

a) Tony, Jim and yourself received the same letter.
b) You, Tony and Jim received the same letter.

A: Neither is correct. Put the pronoun you last, and write:
Tony, Jim and you received the same letter.
Use the reflexive pronouns (-self) for only two purposes.  (Otherwise, use you.)
1. To emphasize - You yourself received the letter. He himself gave me the instructions.
2. To be reflexive (start and end with the same person) You sent yourself a letter. I sang myself to sleep. She did it for herself.

Q: Is there an easy way to tell whether I or me is right in sentences like, "He gave the assignment to Mary and ___.”  Is the answer any different if you say, "He gave Mary and __ the assignment”?

A:  Think of it this way: He gave the assignment to Mary, and he gave the  assignment to me. You need an object (a receiver) after the preposition "to.” Me is the object. (I is the subject.) In your second example, the same rule holds true. He gave Mary the assignment. He gave me the assignment. The only difference is that   here we have an indirect object after the verb "gave.” On the other hand, if you need a subject, a performer of the action, I is correct. ("I did the work.”)




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