Tag Archives: personal pronoun

Who or whom?

The excessive length of this rather cumbersome sentence from Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, which begins 5 lines before the section photographed, is awkward…

But am I having a brain freeze moment here?

My brain balks at the clumsiness of the whom in the following sentence.


I kind of know it is right and can probably conjure up an explanation which is likely to use phrases like

it is an objective relative pronoun introducing a relative clause in which Ricky is the object of the verb phrase “surprised to see” which would naturally attract the personal pronoun him if re-written as “I was surprised to see him lingering near the punch bowl”.

But it still feels awkward.

As I say, possibly a minor inherent awkwardness exacerbated by an excessively long sentence.

Editors, where was your red pencil?


habemas papam

I disagreed and argued with BBC News last night.

Mrs P was either unimpressed with my arguing with the television or disinterested by the content of my argument.

However, Pope Francis I was elected last night. As has been customary since (probably) the twelfth century, the announcement is made that

habemas papam

In full, it reads

Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum:
Habemus Papam;
Eminentissimum ac reverendissimum Dominum,
Dominum [praenomen] Sanctæ Romanæ Ecclesiæ Cardinalem [nomen],
Qui sibi nomen imposuit [Papal Name].

Now, this is how the BBC translated the first line:

There is a Pope.



“Habemas Papam” translates as “We have a Pope”.

We have a Pope. We. First person plural subjective personal pronoun.


Encompassing both the cardinals (old, archaic, venerable) and the congregation (youthful, vibrant, excited and owning an inordinate number of iPads!)

How much more effective is that than just the objective and factual and inaccurate “There is a Pope”?! Sorry BBC, but please. It’s important!

I also wondered about the name he’s adopted: Pope Francis. It suggests a sensitivity to the poor and animals, echoing St Francis of Assisi. And also – as the first non-European Pope for 1,300 years – the deliberate choice of a name derived from France and Frenchman could be an attempt to reconcile the first and third world churches….

Or. He might just like the name.