Should questions like What tense is "have been are"? and "Whom of which", a valid expression? be closed? If yes, why (NC, OT, NARQ, GR)?

1 Answer 1


The instances cited of Have been are were pretty clearly inadvertent errors, probably arising during editing, and that question should probably be closed as Too Localized.

Whom of which, however, although unquestionably non-standard, is cropping up too often to be dismissed as merely a local error. Its currency demands investigation: how did it arise, and why is it so widely accepted? This question is linguistically 'interesting', and I see no grounds for closing it.

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    Would the lacklustre answer ("It's simply bad English") be sufficient grounds for closure of the "whom of which" question? Mar 6, 2013 at 20:14
  • I'm one of the closevoters for Whom of which (as Too Localised), but I kinda regret that now. I doubt there's really much of a "backstory" beyond general ignorance, but it's much more prevalent than I'd have expected. So even if we never actually find out why it occurs so often, it may as well be left open on the off-chance. OP's other example, like many others, is really just a one-off mistake, so TL is a good closevote reason. Mar 7, 2013 at 3:37
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    @FumbleFingers I agree. But the accepted answer to the "Whom of which" question is ... unedifying. Shouldn't that be a consideration as well? Can it be answered differently? Mar 7, 2013 at 3:46
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    @coleopterist: Well, first StoneyB, and now me, accept at least the possibility that there's more to it than that answer implies. But unless someone knows any more, I see little point in posting an answer saying "There may be a reason for this unquestionably non-standard form cropping up so often, but I don't know what it is." I made an "etymology guess" here on ELL - someone else can try to figure this latest one out! Mar 7, 2013 at 4:03

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