When Jennifer Getsinger first noticed this Vancouver sign, featuring the slogan “Who are you running for?” she felt it to be an example of incorrect grammar: “who” (nominative case) instead of “whom” (objective case). Now she wonders if it was a simple proofreading error. But it doesn’t matter: she finds both equally annoying! Photo by Jennifer Getsinger.
I’m in agreement with Tina here. This slogan is very widely used in the many races that benefit cancer research or treatment, and the target readers would find “Whom are you running for” ridiculously formal and awkward.
You make a good point, Nancy. We believe that Jennifer found the location of the sign–in front of the CBC building–pleasingly ironic. The CBC, while recognizing that language is ever evolving, prides itself on being “a language model for its audiences” and that “good usage and accuracy are essential to high quality journalism.”
An interesting discussion… (Holy sentence fragment, Batman!)
Two grammatical errors in front of the CBC and you would let it go? It’s embarrassing.
For whom are you sliding?
It may well be, but it’s how people use language. I would have let this one slide as a more effective piece of marketing. Sorry, fellow editors!
I would agree that it’s an effective piece of marketing, Tina. I would also agree that it’s how people use language–in informal contexts. But is this an informal context? Possibly.
Anyway, one of my go-to style guides when I’m looking for guidance on more informal styles of Canadian writing is The Canadian Press Stylebook since it’s regularly revised to reflect current Canadian usage. Surprisingly enough, in the latest edition (the 16th; page 300), CP still calls for the distinction between “who” and “whom.” Not that this resolves anything, of course, but it’s interesting nonetheless…