The Office: Whoever vs. Whomever

Ryan: What I really want — honestly, Michael — is for you to know it so you can communicate it to the people here, to your clients, to whomever.
Michael: Oh, okay…
Ryan: What?
Michael: It’s whoever, not whomever.
Ryan: No, it’s whomever…
Michael: No…whomever is never actually right.
Jim: Well, sometimes it’s right.
Creed: Michael is right. It’s a made-up word used to trick students.
Andy: No. Actually, whomever is the formal version of the word.
Oscar: Obviously, it’s a real word, but I don’t know when to use it correctly.
Michael (to the camera): Not a native speaker.
Kevin: I know what’s right, but I’m not gonna say because you’re all jerks who didn’t come see my band last night.
Ryan: Do you really know which one is correct?
Kevin: I don’t know.
Pam: It’s whom when it’s the object of the sentence and who when it’s the subject.
Phyllis: That sounds right.
Michael: Well, it sounds right, but is it?
Stanley: How did Ryan use it, as an object?
Ryan: As an object…
Kelly: Ryan used me as an object.
Stanley: Is he right about that?
Pam: How did he use it again?
Toby: It was…Ryan wanted Michael, the subject, to, uh explain the computer system, the subject–
Michael: Yes!
Toby: –to whomever, meaning us, the indirect object…which is the correct usage of the word.
Michael: No one asked you anything, ever, so whomever’s name is Toby, why don’t you take a letter opener and stick it into your skull?
LOVE THIS!
Thanks to Jess and everyone who told me I had to post this. I’ll be watching the actual episode later today.
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7 responses to “The Office: Whoever vs. Whomever

  1. There’s a good albeit somewhat technical analysis of this same exchange over at the linguistics blog Literal-Minded.

  2. I thought about you when I watched this episode.

  3. Oops. That was me.

  4. “That was [I].”

  5. That is excatly why “The Office” is the best show on television!

  6. Bryan D. Catherman

    I love the show and was waiting on the edge of my seat for an appearance of the Grammar Vandal (in mask and cape) to enter the scene and fix the problem.

  7. Hmmm. Maybe I should get a cape.

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