This question ("I am [who/whom] G-d made me") was marked as a duplicate of these questions ("What’s the rule for using “who” and “whom” correctly?", "When to use what or who"), but I don't think either of these answers the question.

I saw a post from a moderator that mentioned there are some other people who think it should not have been closed and that recommended bringing up the subject on Meta. I didn't see a question here yet about it, so I'm posting this.

I will explain my viewpoint in an answer so that people can vote on it separately from the question. (I.e. downvote this question if you think I shouldn't have brought up this issue; downvote my answer if you disagree with my reasons for wanting the question re-opened). I hope some of the people who think the closure was appropriate will post answers explaining their points of view.

  • 3
    Why not answer the most recent question asked by the OP: “I am "who/whom" he loves”? It is still open, only just, and it looks to be a more intriguing question.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 4:48
  • @Mari-LouA: Oh... that question is actually a duplicate, but annoyingly, the best fit is not the easy-to-find general question.
    – herisson
    Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 4:59
  • You mean there's a different older question, which answers the OP's "I am (who/whom) he loves" ? NOT What’s the rule for using “who” and “whom” correctly?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 5:04
  • I think this one does it (english.stackexchange.com/questions/174671/…), but I'm holding off on close voting so I have some more time to look for other older questions that might fit better and the OP has time to respond to confirm if it answers the question.
    – herisson
    Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 5:07
  • 1
    It is an unfortunately confusing question because of the out of the ordinary and distracting subordinate clause. To cut through the confusion, modern English hardly ever uses 'whom', so the answer is easy, it should use 'who'. In older or more formal language,there might by a question as to which one, but it is dependent on parsing the subordinate clause which is difficult because of its piling on of pronouns.
    – Mitch
    Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 13:41

1 Answer 1


The question "I am [who/whom] G-d made me" should be reopened.

It's about "prescriptive" grammar, so the answer is not intuitively obvious. The example sentence combines two environments that are notorious for causing trouble: the case of the relative pronoun who/whom and case after a form of the copula.

The question also touches on several interesting aspects of the grammar of actual English, so it shouldn't be closed just because you dislike prescriptive grammar.

It addresses the following points:

In sentences of the form "Taking on responsibility made you an adult" where we have a subject, an object, and a nominal complement, what is the case of the nominal complement? Or more broadly, what is its grammatical role? This is an interesting syntax question in its own right.

None of the answers to "What’s the rule for using “who” and “whom” correctly?" discuss this particular grammatical environment. They do offer general rules of thumb like "substitute another pronoun for who and whom." Doing that in this case gives "God made me me" or "God made me I." "God made me me" sounds better, so is the question answered by this simple rule?

It seems reasonable to me to doubt this. For one thing, online examples that are similar to this often show some odd punctuation that casts doubt on the role of the pronoun here. Often there is a comma or ellipsis before the pronoun: "What made me, me", "everything that made me ... me". Sometimes, what appears to be an "object pronoun" is capitalized or put in quotation marks: "What events in my life had made me, Me?", "the things that made me 'me' ". In other words, the "me" here often seems to be treated as a noun rather than a pronoun, and in that case it would not inflect for case and would be useless as evidence for the "who"/"whom" rule. (A parallel case: we say "The Me I Want to Be", not "The I I want to Be," but prescriptive grammar still prescribes the nominative form in the phrase "who I want to be.")

After doing this research, I would guess that the nominal complement in sentences like these is in fact objective case, but it is not exactly obvious to me. I don't think the question should be closed unless you think this is an obvious topic. It's further complicated by the fact that the example sentence "I am [who/whom] G-d made me" is a compound sentence that starts with a nominative pronoun followed by a form of the copula.

Another topic: When is it grammatical to replace the nominal complement with a fronted relative pronoun? Does it make a difference if the pronoun is who(m) or what? The answer to (When to use what or who) is certainly relevant here, as it implicitly assumes that this is grammatical in some cases. However, a comment beneath that question says "I don't much like usages like He is who he is [...] it's still much less common than He is what he is" and references a Google ngram chart to support this statement. In addition, many comments beneath the "I am [who/whom] G-d made me" question suggest that the sentence is not grammatical. If the sentence is not grammatical, why not? How is it different from the definitely grammatical "I'm what you made me" or the apparently grammatical "I'm who you made me"?

  • 2
    I think the question is poorly titled and organized. It's made of several subquestions intertwined and mixed with each other, particularly: 1 whether I am who/m God made me is grammatical, and 2 what the role of the second complement is. Nevertheless, it deserves to be reopened, because neither of these subquestions are off-topic or trivial, or duplicate of those mentioned.
    – Færd
    Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 0:52
  • 4
    I have voted to reopen because I want to read your answer to the question.
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 1:23
  • +1 If the question was changed to : I am who/whom God made* , would it be so bad? Isn't that sentence grammatical?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 5:09
  • Voting to reopen, because the Op has listened to comments, and has edited his question, and has shown "research".
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 5:27
  • @Mari-LouA: "I am who/whom God made" would be grammatical, but it doesn't include the complement, which seems to be an important part of the question.
    – herisson
    Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 5:48
  • 2
    @Mari-LouA "I am who/m god made" has the structure "I am whom(i) God made [ ___ ] (i)". But "I am who/m God made me" has the structure "I am who/m(i) God made me [ ___ ] (i)". In the first whom is coreferential with the Object of made. In the second, me is the Object and who/m is correferential with the Predicative Complement of made. Commented Jul 13, 2016 at 13:58

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