It's time to study who vs. whom, a topic you've all been waiting for!
I'd like to admit something pretty embarrassing right from the start. Are you ready? I didn't know that whom was a word until I was in college. That is not an exaggeration, folks. It's just a sad, sad fact.
I realize that that may not exactly instill in you a feeling of trust for my knowledge, but I've come a long way since those whom-free days, and I think they helped me become a better teacher.
Anyway, you're probably at least aware that the word whom exists, but you might have some confusion surrounding when you're supposed to use it. Let's explore that topic and get you confident about which word to use.
Who vs. Whom
This silly photo pretty much sums it up. Who is always a subject and whom is always an object.
Subjects are words that tell us whom or what a sentence is about.
Andrew called David.
The white cat belongs to my nephew.
Those underlined words are the subjects of the sentences. They tell us whom or what each sentence is about.
Whenever you are using a subject, choose who.
Who threw the frog on my head?
Who is coming to the concert?
In both of those sentences, who is the subject.
Objects are a little bit more complicated than subjects because there are different kinds of objects.
I'll list a few of them for you.
I baked the class a cake.
I baked the class a cake.
I baked a cake for the class.
Whenever you want to use an object, choose whom.
Whom did you call?
Whom is the direct object of the verb did call.
The frog was thrown by whom?
Whom is the object of the preposition by.
Did that help to clear up this "who vs whom" mess? I hope so. If not...
If you feel like this information has not been the least bit useful, it's probably because you're still learning to tell the difference between subjects and objects.
If that's so, you are in luck. There is an easy way out of this whole who vs whom business.
You can use the trusty him test.
While you may not know when to use who and whom, I'll bet that you know when to use he and him, right?
You simply insert the word he or him into your sentence and see which one sounds right. If he sounds right, use who. If him sounds right, use whom.
He/Him ate my cookie?
Who/Whom ate my cookie?
He/Him did you send the card to? = You did send the card to he/him.
You did send the card to who/whom. = Whom did you send the card to?
I hope this page has helped to solve your who vs whom dilemma.
The mission of Grammar Revolution is to help people learn grammar quickly and easily so that they can become confident writers and speakers.
The tool that makes this happen is sentence diagramming.
Other Helpful Resources