Who vs Whom – When to Choose Which One and Why?

Who vs. whom. Are you aware of the difference between these two pronouns? Because they sound similar, most people confuse their usage. But not to worry!

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In this guide, we’ll be showing you the difference between these two pronouns. You will also learn how to use these pronouns when constructing sentences. Before we discuss it, make sure to learn the usage of other words in 501 Words.

Who vs Whom

We already know that there is a difference between these two pronouns, but don’t exactly know what it is.

“Who” refers to the subject of the sentence. On the other hand, “whom” refers to the object of a verb or preposition. 

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When to Use Who & Whom

One helpful tip to distinguish between the two is to replace it with another pronoun. If you can replace “he” or “she” with it, use “who” in your sentence. Meanwhile, use “whom” if you can replace it with “him” or “her” with it.

Who vs Whom Examples

To make things easier, here are some examples to help you distinguish between the two pronouns.

Who/whom will pay for the meal?

Right: Who will pay for the meal?
Wrong: Whom will pay for the meal?

This example makes more sense when you read, “he/she will pay for the meal.” It doesn’t make sense if you used him/her. This is why using who is the right answer.

The package is delivered to the house by who/whom?

Right: The package is delivered to the house by whom?
Wrong: The package is delivered to the house by who?

It gets tricky because they both sound right. Remember, first identify what’s the subject of the sentence. In this case, the subject is the package and not the person doing it. Which is why we use “whom” in this sentence because it is the object of the verb “delivered.”

Let’s use the helpful tip of replacing pronouns again. The sentence “The package is delivered to the house by him/her” makes more sense than using “he/she.”

Who/Whom is being summoned to court?

Right: Who is being summoned to court?
Wrong: Whom is being summoned to court?

In this example, it makes more sense to read, “He/She is being summoned to court” compared to “him/her.”

Who vs Whom vs Whose

“Whose” is the possessive form of “who.” This means that you should only use this for sentences that indicate possession. This is often used in questions.

Whose dog is this?
Whose car is parked outside?
Whose turn is it to go outside?

Frequently Asked Questions

Who I met or Whom I met?

“Whom” is used to refer to the object of the clause and “Who” is used to refer to the subject of a sentence. So, in this case, you should use, “The girl whom I met at the club”.

Who knows Whom?

Who knows Whom is used to introduce an unknown by someone known.

State a simple technique to use Who & Whom?

In confusion to use who and whom. Remember this simple technique, when there is “he” or “she” in your sentence, use who. When there is “him” and “her” in your sentence, use whom.

Conclusion

Knowing the difference between “who” and “whom” is important, especially if you’re communicating in business and professional settings. While it seems confusing at first, replacing pronouns in place of who and whom makes it easier.

The word “whom” is disappearing from American spoken English. “Whom” is mainly used as a replacement of “who” as the object of a verb or preposition.

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