Who is Whom?

October 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Grammar, Mini-Lessons

A student raised his hand in class today and inquired about the use of whom.  He asked if it is one of those words that has fallen out of the English language since he rarely hears it.  I told him, au contraire . . . the word is alive and well – many just don’t know how to use it appropriately.  There is actually a simple little trick for understanding which word to use!:

Who vs. Whom

Who is that behind the mask?

Who is that behind the mask?

Use who (or whoever) when I, he, she, we or they could take its place.

Who and whoever are nominative forms.

Example:

Who is in charge of the redundant meeting? (She is in charge of the redundant meeting.)

Whoever said she couldn’t write?

He said she couldn’t write.

Use whom (or whomever) when me, him, her, us, or them could take its place as a direct object or object of a preposition in the whom clause.

Examples:

For whom is he writing? (He is writing for her.)

I will vote for whomever you recommend. (You recommend him.)

Whom and whomever are objective forms.

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