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Quiet Desperation

Boo-who-whom — let us weep for grammar gone by


To who it may concern: I have some great news.

The word "whom" no longer exists. You can forget about it. Most of you already have.

It's rarely used when it should be, even by writers and others who (correct) should know better.

"Who loves you?" is correct, but "Who do you love?" is incorrect. Not anymore.

"Whom" was given a one-way ticket to Palookaville, just like Marlon Brando, who (correct) starred in "On the Waterfront" as Terry Malloy, whom (correct) we admire when he stands up to union boss Johnny Friendly.

The two words are just an "m" apart, but it took my high school English teacher an entire class period to explain the difference.

That night, the family watched "Who Do You Trust?" and I was confused all over again. I still am.

Correctly using "whom" makes it sounds like you've been to college, and that's about it. It always sounds like French cuffs on a bowling shirt.

I respect the rules of grammar. Right down to "i" before "e" except after "c." See?

But wait. What about "science"? And then there is "weird." Language can be a weird science, can't it?

What about "an" before "h" words? Always? Nope.

If you think it can drive someone crazy who (correct) reads tweets and texts that others write, truncated and abbreviated and slanged around, you'd be correct.

I make mistakes all of the thyme. I often wright as fast as I think, and "you're" becomes "your," even though I know better.

Whom, doom, tomb. That's the crux of this column. Why isn't crux spelled "crucks"? Because "crucks" looks plural, and you can't have more than one "crux." At least, that's my guess.

I'd also like to get rid of the word "closure," for one simple reason. There is no such thing, unless you are talking about a zipper.

At the end of a long trial, when someone is convicted of a heinous crime, the prosecuting attorney invariably says that the victim's family now has "closure." Sure. It's all gone.

The Sandy Hook families will never have closure. And as long as Alex Jones is around, they won't even get close to it.

Eventually we accept something that seems incomprehensible. Otherwise, we would never make it through the day.

Lately, it seems, there has been one truly horrific event after another after another. For most of us, we tend to replace one with the next one. But for those who (correct) survived Orlando, for example, the Pulse shootings will never be replaced. No closure for you.

But "closure" is one of those words, like "diversity" and "infrastructure," that gets plugged in because it's handy in the moment.

I will give each and every one of you a biscuit if you refrain from saying "teachable moment" for the next 12 months.

I listened to a millionaire the other night and passed out. He plays professional basketball. He spoke in a hodgepodge of too cool for school slang and borderline English. Then he went home in a Lamborghini.

Therefore, why bother? There are fewer and fewer of us these days, for whom (correct) it matters.

Knock, knock.


Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.


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