Try to remember to forget
illustration by Okan Arabacioglu
Memory loss is like bad weather: You can complain, but there’s little you can do about it. Which is not to say people won’t try.
My wife’s father was a voracious reader, especially of detective stories and history. He had books by the hundreds stacked in his home. One day I noticed many were marked inside with the letter X.
They are “reminders,” my wife said.
“That he had already read the book.”
I thought it a good strategy against a diminishing memory; nobody wants to travel the same road twice. But recently something happened that made me reconsider.
IT BEGAN WITH SIX STONES. Jack West Jr and his loyal team are in desperate disarray: they’ve been separated, their mission is in tatters, and Jack was last seen plummeting down a fathomless abyss. IT FINISHES HERE. After surviving his deadly fall, Jack must now race against his many enemies to locate and set in place the remaining pieces of The Machine before the coming Armageddon. WHO ARE THE FIVE WARRIORS? As the world teeters on the brink of destruction, he will learn of the Five Warriors, the individuals who throughout history have been most intimately connected to his quest. OCEANS WILL RISE, CITIES WILL FALL. Scores will be settled, fathers will fight sons, brothers will battle brothers, and Jack and his friends will soon find out exactly what the end of the world looks like…
Knowing how to correctly use “who” and “whom” may seem a little out-dated and persnickety, reminiscent of grammar lessons by strict English teachers, but the correct usage remains important when writing in a formal manner. Awareness of the distinction is essential in this respect otherwise you could risk sounding rather pompous, not to mention grammatically confused. So, what is the distinction between “who” and “whom” and how do we use them?
Both words are pronouns but the crucial distinction is that “who” is used as the subject in a sentence, whereas “whom” is the object. Here’s an example:
Who paid for the newspaper? Who photocopied the report? Who likes ice-cream?
Here, “who” is the subject in each of the sentences. Now we’ll see how “whom” is used when we need to refer to the object of a verb:
To whom does this bag belong? To whom it may concern. Whom do I love the most?
Okay, so we know about subjects and objects, but it can still be tricky to decipher the usage. One way to do this is to ask yourself if the answer to the question is “he” or “him”. If you can answer with “he”, you need to use “who” and if you can answer with “him”, you need to use “whom”. This is a straightforward way of remembering how to use “who” or “whom” correctly. Let’s see some more examples:
Question: To (who or whom) did the award go?
Answer: It went to him.
Therefore, the correct pronoun for the question is “whom” – to whom did the award go?
Question: (Who or whom) went to the beach?
Answer: He went to the beach.
So, the correct pronoun here is “who” – who went to the beach?
Finally, here is a handy mnemonic to help you remember the distinction between an object and a subject. In the phrase “I love you”, the “you” is the object of your love and the object of the sentence. The “I” is the subject. Therefore, it is correct to say “Whom do I love?” because the answer is “you” (whom), the object.
KJ Hutchings is the founder of KJ Language Services, offering editing, writing and proofreading services and advice on how you can make your English language documents the very best they can be. For more information, visit http://www.kjlanguageservices.com/
Before Nabokov’s death in 1977, he instructed his wife to burn the unfinished first draft—handwritten on 138 index cards—of what would be his final novel. She did not, and now Nabokov’s son, Dmitri, is releasing them to the world, though after reading the book, readers will wonder if the Lolita author is laughing or turning over in his grave.This very unfinished work reads largely like an outline, full of seeming notes-to-self, references to source material, sentence fragments, commentary and brief flashes of spectacular prose. Depending on the reader’s eye, the final card is either haunting or the great writer’s final sly wink: it’s a list of synonyms for efface—expunge, erase, delete, rub out, wipe out and, finally, obliterate.
Bestselling author Tom Clancy will deliver his first new book in seven years when his longtime publisher Penguin releases Dead or Alive December 7. The novel will be published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons in the U.S. with simultaneous release in the U.K. by Michael Joseph. Dead or Alivewill feature all of Clancy’s best-know characters, including Jack Ryan who, along with other Campus recruits, is dispatched by the new president to track down the “Emir,” the mastermind of “vicious terrorist attacks on the West,” according to Penguin.
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