Friday, April 14, 2006

Being a really picky bastard

whose grasp of English Grammar might sometimes be suspect it feels like maybe I'm pushing my luck.

However, when I drive home and reach the intersection of The Hohokam Expressway and MacDowell road there's a billboard off to the right that really irks me. It's advertising a mobile phone plan. I really don't remember which company.

The gist of the wording is that this is a plan that allows one to call 'whoever' 'whenever', with unlimited minutes. If you believe that any phone company offers true unlimited minutes without some sting in the bum then you'll believe that I can walk on water! I can't help seeing that 'whoever' and thinking that it really ought to be 'whomever'. Indeed, I really want to see that m.

Like I said, I'm a picky bastard. You might have noticed that I frequently use the word 'whilst' where most people would expect to see the word 'while'. I was in an online chat some years ago (I was a host expected to drop the gavel of doom onto those who used four letter words) talking about something or other. I don't remember what. Anyway, I used the word 'whilst'. One of the participants in the chat couldn't resist pointing out that even in online chat I used 'whilst'. I wasn't sure if this was a 'taking of the piss' or a real observation but I chose the optimistic view! :-)

I can't explain the rules I use to chose between 'who' and 'whom', or between 'while' and 'whilst'. It's gut feel, probably backed up by unconscious memories of reading what I assume are the correct usages in ancient books. I just know that when I write a sentence where the choice is one or the other the one feels right, the other doesn't.

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