Whom in a Predicate Nominative

Raise your hand if you know how to use whom. Now keep it raised if you’re confident you can explain its use in the following sentence: “One would do well to ask whom that was and by what means the communication took place.”

Now keep it raised if — and only if — you figured out that this usage of “whom” is wrong.

My guess is no one’s deltoids are getting a workout right now. As I’ve said in this space before, “whom” is usually more trouble than it’s worth. Just when you think you have it down, you can get it wrong. And since the whole reason to use “whom” in the first place is to be proper, it doesn’t help when “whom” leads to errors. Here's my recent column on how you can get even this "whom" right.

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