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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

For the record

Posted by on July 13 at 16:21 PM

I feel it is incumbent on me, given my run of language-snobby posts around here lately, and the fact that the “whom” in question was a teaser for my li’l news section piece, to say that this “whom,” while technically correct, feels all wrong. Grammar has to bend to usagethough not “literally,” I don’t mind mentioning. You don’t have to know all the rules; you just have to know when something sounds right. It reminds me of something I once saw during my brief stint as an employee of a local publication called Seattle Weekly

There I was, minding my own business, walking by the then-publisher/editor-in-chief's office, while he and my editor traded turns looking at a photo contact sheet through a loupe (in the days before everything had been digitized). They were looking for a picture of Gary Payton, who was then the most important member of the Seattle Supersonics (and who is now a tragic hero, his almost-brilliant career befouled by hubris). Anyway, my editor goes: "I think that's Gary Payton," and her boss goes: "Oh, is that he?"

Sometimes you gotta know when to say when. Or "him" in that case. Or "who."