Who vs Whom
Many English speakers do not know the difference between who and whom. In some places, it hardly matters, because using who when you should use whom is so common that it’s not even considered much of a mistake. But for those who want to know the difference between who and whom, here is an explanation.
Who’ like he, she, and I is a subject – it is the person performing the action of the verb.
Whom, like me, him, and her, is an object – it is the person to/about/for whom the action is being done.Whom is also the correct choice after a preposition: with whom, one of whom, not “with who, one of who.”
Sometimes it helps to rewrite the sentence and/or replace who/whom with another pronoun so that you can see the relationships more clearly.
- This is who warned me > He warned me (not “him” warned me)
- Jack is the one who wants to go > He wants to go (not “him” wants to go)
- This is the man whom I told you about > I told you about him (not about “he”)
- Lisa is the girl with whom I’m driving to Maine > I’m driving to Maine with her (not with “she”)
“Who” is the subject; “whom” is the object.
When you are not certain which to use, use “he” and “him” to help you. (“He” is the subject; “him” is the object.)
Steve gave Toma basketball. He gave him a basketball.
Who gave whom a basketball?
Take this sentence: Sarah gave the kitten to who?
Change it to each of the following: “Sarah gave the kitten to he?” or “Sarah gave the kitten to him?” By doing this, you can see that the second sentence is the accurate one. Since “him” is the object, you should use the object “whom.” So the question should read, “Sarah gave the kitten to whom?”
Who gave you that candy bar?
- He gave you that candy bar?
- Him gave you that candy bar?
In this case, #1 is correct and “He” is the subject, so “Who,” not “Whom,” is correct.
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