Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: who; whom (6).

who; whom (6). Today: “Which” for “who” or “whom.” Some inattentive writers use “which” in referring to human beings — e.g.: o “The bakery employs 11 people, two of which [read ‘whom’] are English (non-Amish) women, and one who is a salesman.” Faith Whitcomb, “Bakery Relies on Generations of Amish Recipes,” Plain Dealer (Cleveland), 13 June 1995, at 4. o “Most of the students, which [read ‘who’] are evenly split between corporate clients and consumers, have taken the free course.” Laura Castaneda, “Netting an Education,” S.F. Chron., 24 July 1997, at D1. o “The driver of the first car, which [read ‘who’] was the only occupant, also died at the scene.” “2 Killed in 3-Vehicle Crash on Highway 360,” Dallas Morning News, 7 July 2003, at B2. (Because the writer used ‘which’ instead of ‘who,’ it seems at first as if the car was its own passenger and died in the accident.) “That,” of course, is permissible when referring to humans: “the people that were present” or “the people who were present.” Editors tend, however, to prefer the latter phrasing. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. Quotation of the Day: “The system used for citing references should be designed to give minimum interruption to readers’ progress through the text. It should allow them to concentrate on primary information.” Christopher Turk & John Kirkman, Effective Writing: Improving Scientific, Technical, and Business Communication 69-70 (2d ed. 1989).
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