stumbling over a specific who/mever case


Hello!  There are a few lines of dialog in a comic I'm workoing on that are giving me trouble when I attempt to figure the proper usage of  whom/whoever based on the grammar rules I've been reading.  Here is the dialog:


A: She seems happy -- don't you think Egglinton would want us to continue?

B: Oh, I'm sure he would... who(m)ever the cost.


Any help in this specific case (and ideally some explanation of why, so I don't run into this again) would be powerfully appreciated!

asked May 05 '13 at 02:02 madeline gutterball New member

1 answer


The phrase you are wanting is 'whatever the cost'. Neither whoever or whomever makes any sense in this dialog.

link answered May 05 '13 at 02:19 Lewis Neidhardt Grammarly Fellow

Thanks for the quick reply. I know the stock phrase is 'whatever,' but that is not what I'm looking for. The desired (if clumsy) effect is to twist the phrase 'whatever the cost' and emphasize character B's feeling that the character Egglinton would selfishly want them to continue, no matter the cost to others.

(Thanks anyhow!)

madeline gutterballMay 05 '13 at 02:39

Then you need to say "no matter the cost to others." Who or whom is a pronoun for a person. A cost is a thing and needs the pronoun "what". That said, it is not formal writing, it is dialog. You can make a person say anything, even if it is not grammatically correct. But you should decide whether the reader will think it is natural or odd for the character to speak the words you choose.

Patty TMay 05 '13 at 04:02

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