The general rule is that "who" is less formal than "whom" where both are possible. "Who" and "whom" are both possible when they serve as the object of the clause they appear in. One might argure that "who" should be used because it's rather considered a subject ("who is an angel"), but "whom" cannot be wrong anyway.
Rachel's tendecy to use "who" too, as I could guess that, made me check some reference books to see if I can find anything relevant.

Swan's Practical English Usage:
6. who(m) he thought etc
In a sentence like He was trying to find an old school friend, who(m) he thought was living in New Zealand, people are often unsure whether to use whom (because it seems to be the object of the first following verb) or who (because it is the subject of the second verb). Who is considered more correct, but whom is quite often used. Another example:
There is a child in this class who(m) I believe is a musical genius.
In the cases with a following infinitive, usage is mixed, but whom is considered more correct.
There is a child in this class who(m) I believe to be a musical genius.

The examples given by Swan are exactly the type you provided, MikeyC.

quote:
There is a child in this class who(m) I believe is a musical genius.

I think Swan believes "who" is more correct in this example (or your example) because we would rather consider "who" as the subject of the clause, as Rachel said. And it doesn't sound much find to consider "who" as the object because the real object is "[she] is an angel". The clause serves as the object of "think", not "who" or [she]. "Everyone thinks [she] is an angel."

quote:
There is a child in this class who(m) I believe to be a musical genius.

However, in this example, we are more inclined to consider "who(m)" as the object, with the infinitive phrase ("to be a musical genius") modifying it: "I believe [him] to be a musical genius."


On the other hand, I found the same discussion in Fowler's Modern English Usage:
6. There are occasions when whom is used incorrectly (or hypocorrectly) when who is needed: *The baronet whom Golitsin claimed had been the target for homosexual blackmail-P. Wright, 1987. In this sentence, whom should be who, because it is the subject of had been and not the object of claimed.

Thus, Swan supports what I said, while Fowler sides with Rachel. I hope it is clear now!
Mehrdad:

You're wrong, IMO. Whom works here only when you have:

I'm talking about a woman whom everyone seems to think/consider an angel.

thus without "is." "Is" makes quite a difference.

They thought/considered her an angel.
They thought/considered she was an angel.

As you can see in the last two sentences, the simple presence of "to be" modifies the form of the pronoun, because it switches from object to subject.

One can't say:

*They thought/considered her was an angel.
*They think/consider her is an angel.
quote:
You're wrong, IMO. Whom works here only when you have:

I'm talking about a woman whom everyone seems to think/consider an angel.

I see your point (I have also somehow pointed to it above), but then, you should also think Swan is wrong. Please read Swan's example too: "There is a child in this class who(m) I believe is a musical genius." Then, according to what you said, "whom" cannot be correct there, while Swan says it is. As you see, in Swan's example, we have "is" as in MickeyC's example.
Even more decisive, in published books:

153 on "whom everyone considers"
http://books.google.com/books?...22&btnG=Search+Books

9 on "who everyone considers"
http://books.google.com/books?...22&btnG=Search+Books

Look at the domination of "whom" when "considers" is the verb, just because we're talking about the OBJECT of "considers/thinks."

And forget about Swan, I gave you some basic sentences. Can you contradict those?
Now, similar to the example you quoted, in published books we find these critical patterns:

650 on "who I believe is a".
http://books.google.com/books?...22&btnG=Search+Books

166 on "whom I believe is a".
http://books.google.com/books?...22&btnG=Search+Books

I consider all of the last one as over-corrections, and anyway, as you can see, they are dominated by the first.

Now, I am not saying they are not used in published books. They are, but I see them as over-corrections.
Even more dominating are the stats at the New York Times, which has standards more demanding than the overall pool of books at Google Books and is very careful about its English:

22,100 from nytimes.com for "who I believe is a"
http://www.google.ca/search?hl...22&btnG=Search&meta=

0 from nytimes.com for "whom I believe is a"
http://www.google.ca/search?hl...22&btnG=Search&meta=

When I see these stats from the NYT, I don't care about anyone else, believe me, they show total domination for the 1st version.

To me, the NYT simply says the 2nd is an over-correction not to be used.
Thanks for the research, Jerry. Yes, I agree that there is a difference between 'whom I considered / thought / believed to be' and 'who I considered / thought / believed was.'

Here's some support from three of our favorite sources. (Even Swan, while backing off a bit on 'whom' because it is so often used, states that 'who' is correct in sentences like the ones we are considering.):

The American Heritage Dictionary* is careful about the use of ‘who’ and ‘whom,’ as you can see from this usage note:

• USAGE NOTE The traditional rules for choosing between who and whom are relatively simple but not always easy to apply. who is used where a nominative pronoun such as I or he would be appropriate, that is, for the subject of a verb or for a predicate nominative; whom is used for a direct or indirect object or for the object of a preposition. Thus, we write the actor who played Hamlet was there, since who is the subject ofplayed; and whom do you like best? because whomis the object of the verb like and To whom did you give the letter? because whomis the object of the preposition to.

It is more difficult, however, to apply these rules in complicated sentences, particularly when who or whom is separated from the verb or preposition that determines its form. Intervening words may make it difficult to see that who do you think is the best candidate? requires who as the subject of the verb is (not whom as the object of think) and The man whom the papers criticized did not show up requires whom as the object of the verbcriticized, (not who as the subject of showed up).

Highly complex sentences such as I met the man whom the government had tried to get France to extradite require careful analysis—in this case, to determine that whom should be chosen as the object of the verb extradite, several clauses away.

It is thus not surprising that writers from Shakespeare onward have often interchanged who and whom. Nevertheless, the distinction remains a hallmark of formal style.

In speech and informal writing, however, considerations other than strict grammatical correctness often come into play. whomay sound more natural than whomin a sentence such as who did John say he was going to support? —though it is incorrect according to the traditional rules. In general, whotends to predominate over whomin informal contexts. Whommay sound stuffy even when correctly used, and when used where whowould be correct, as in whomshall I say is calling? Whommay betray grammatical ignorance.

Similarly, though traditionalists will insist on whomwhen the relative pronoun is the object of a preposition that ends a sentence, grammarians since Noah Webster have argued that the excessive formality of whomis at odds with the relative informality associated with this construction; thus they contend that a sentence such as who did you give it to? should be regarded as entirely acceptable….
_______

Swan** has many sections on who/whom. In one relevant to this discussion, he states:

…In this structure, people sometimes use whom as a subject pronoun. This is not generally considered correct:

This is a letter from my father, whom we hope will be out of hospital soon.
(More correct:…[i]who we hope will be out…
…}
_______

Garner*** has a lot on the hypercorrection ‘whom,’ in a few sections. He states:

Although whom in the sentence [below] may seem to be the object of realizes, in fact it is the subject of the verb is:

• In ‘An Independent Woman,’ Barbara is confronted by an Aftican-American burglar, whom who she realizes is well-educated but desperate.

Garner has many more examples in a section on who/whom, of which these are two:

• Police went to several addresses looking for a 17-year old whom who they thought was staying with his aunt.

• The side I saw was a kind, caring, loving man, said Woodrich, who admitted that many people criticized him for fraternizing with a man [i]whom who they thought was the enemy.
_______
*The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin 2007
**Practical English Usage, Third Edition, by Michael Swan. Oxford 2005
***Garner's Modern American Usage, by Bryan A. Garner. Oxford 2003
quote:
Swan's Practical English Usage:
6. who(m) he thought etc
In a sentence like He was trying to find an old school friend, who(m) he thought was living in New Zealand, people are often unsure whether to use whom (because it seems to be the object of the first following verb) or who (because it is the subject of the second verb). Who is considered more correct, but whom is quite often used. Another example:
There is a child in this class who(m) I believe is a musical genius.
In the cases with a following infinitive, usage is mixed, but whom is considered more correct.
There is a child in this class who(m) I believe to be a musical genius.

This is the exact part taken from Swan.
Enough has been said on this, and I think everyone is now equipped with a quite clear picture of the whole thing.

quote:
When I see these stats from the NYT, I don't care about anyone else, believe me, they show total domination for the 1st version.

Well, you may like it that way, but I do care about Swan. I generally like himSmile
Besides, Jerry, even in your beloved NYT, there are many instances of "whom I believe is:
- But there is another type of hero to the front whom I believe is coming to command a still larger share of the popular respect and admiration. (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/a...AC0994D9415B828CF1D3
- Dale KIldee, whom I believe is related to the Treasurer (http://community.nytimes.com/c...usiness/22flint.html)
- I feel a certain satisfaction in being able to vote for a black man whom I believe is truly qualified. (http://community.nytimes.com/a...nion/30williams.html)

There are many many other ones as well...
Swan says, you're telling us:

quote:
In the cases with a following infinitive, usage is mixed, but whom is considered more correct.

There is a child in this class who(m) I believe to be a musical genius.


Again, I agree with Swan on what is considered more correct, but we do not have a following infinitive here after "to think" in the original example, thus I didn't even touch on it.

The correct usage turns on what follows (finite/non-finite), and Rachel has already mentioned that.
quote:
- But there is another type of hero to the front whom I believe is coming to command a still larger share of the popular respect and admiration. (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/a...AC0994D9415B828CF1D3
- Dale KIldee, whom I believe is related to the Treasurer (http://community.nytimes.com/c...usiness/22flint.html)
- I feel a certain satisfaction in being able to vote for a black man whom I believe is truly qualified. (http://community.nytimes.com/a...nion/30williams.html)

Mehrdad, these are quotes from the New York Times, quotes as the words were spoken. They have not been editec.

Had they been edited, or had they been written by Times writers, these sentences would have 'who' instead of 'whom.'

So we all agree, actually. Swan, who is not a prescriptionist, has said that in these cases, 'who' is more correct.
quote:
Mehrdad, these are quotes from the New York Times, quotes as the words were spoken. They have not been editec.

So Jerry's results should mostly be the same too, as they also contain "I" ("who I belive is a").

quote:
22,100 from nytimes.com for "who I believe is a"
http://www.google.ca/search?hl...22&btnG=Search&meta=

There's also sth interesting about this on Google. Here we see 22100 results have been found (http://www.google.ca/search?hl...22&btnG=Search&meta=), while the no. of the actual results is only 13! Just click "next" on the Google page and see it yourself! The same thing happens when I google "whom they believe is":
http://www.google.ca/search?hl...22&btnG=Search&meta=
It gives me 1760 results, but the actual no. is 14! How is this possible?!

PS. There are some other instances (not quoted, as you said) in which "whom they believe is" is used. E.g.
http://www.nytimes.com/1989/02...ng-interstate-4.html
Or http://movies.nytimes.com/movi...-to-Silence/overview
Or
http://www.nytimes.com/1998/12...the-twin-cities.html

I'm sorry; I don't want to disagree, but this is just how it actualy is!
1. I'm talking about a woman whom everyone seems to think is an angel.

"Whom" is undoubtedly incorrect here; otherwise, we have no subject for "is".

It's a very common mistake, however, even among well-known writers; I suspect that Swan's comment is a characteristically discreet acknowledgement of this fact.

(Curiously, the 1996 edition of the American Heritage Book of English Usage presented the similar "Whom shall I say is calling?" as "pretentiously correct"; though as Rachel notes, this assessment has been corrected in later editions of the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language.)

MrP
quote:
It gives me 1760 results, but the actual no. is 14! How is this possible?!


This is a common problem with Google counts. The bigger figure includes cached versions of the same page, hits which Google thinks are duplicates, quotations of one webpage by another, etc.

The more reliable guide (here, your "14") is the figure on the page that says "In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar..."

Best wishes,

MrP
There is no significant difference, in the context of this discussion:

1. I'm talking about a woman who everyone seems to think | is an angel.

2. I'm talking about a woman who everyone seems to think | will become CEO.

In both cases, "who" is correct, since it is the subject of the part after the vertical bar.

MrP

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