DRIVE-BY EDITING: grammar 5

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.

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5 comments

  1. 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.

    • 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…

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