Have you ever been in a situation where you can’t decide whether to use who or whom in your sentence?
If your answer is yes, then you are not alone.
People tend to interchange and misuse these two pronouns. Let us help you understand the difference between the two and how to use them properly in a sentence.
Before delving into the problem of choosing between who and whom, you should understand the difference between the subject and the object of a sentence. The subject is generally the person or thing that the sentence is about and is often the one performing the action of the verb. The subject usually comes before the verb.
“Black Sabbath bow out in Birmingham with final concert”
In the sentence above, the band Black Sabbath serves as the subject of the sentence and is the doer of the verb bow out.
Meanwhile, the object of a sentence is the person or thing affected by the verb.
“Razer buys Nextbit to enter the smartphone market”
The Next Web
In the above sentence, the company Nextbit is the object of the sentence because it is the one being bought by the subject, the company Razer.
Now that you are able to distinguish between the subject and object of the sentence, it would be easier to determine when to use who and whom. The pronoun who should be used when you are referring to the subject of the sentence.
“Super Bowl Prediction: Who Will Win?”
Wall Street Journal
“Who’s Attending the Super Bowl? Mike Pence and Lady Gaga Among Big Names at Big Game”
On the other hand, whom should be used as the object of the sentence.
“Who Will Vote for Whom? Predicting Stars’ Picks For the 2017 SAG Awards”
“Whom Will We Let Into The Lifeboat?”
The Catholic Key
The same rule goes for the use of who and whom in clauses. Who should be used as the subject of a clause while whom should be used for the object.
“Donald Trump fails to mention white man who killed six Muslims in Quebec mosque”
“A letter to … My brother, whom I bullied when we were young”
A technique you can use to easily remember this rule is to ask yourself if the hypothetical answer to the question would be he or him. If it’s he, then use who but if it’s him, you should select whom since both words end with an m.
Who is attending the Super Bowl?
He is attending the Super Bowl
Whom will we let into the lifeboat?
We will let him into the lifeboat.