Who vs. Whom: How to Use Whom vs. Who in Sentences

Are you struggling to understand when to use “who” versus “whom” in your writing? You’re not alone! Even native English speakers can find this aspect of grammar confusing at times. But fear not, we’re here to help clear up any confusion you may have.

In this article, we’ll go over the rules for using “who” and “whom” correctly in your writing. We’ll explain when to use each pronoun and provide examples to help you better understand the difference between the two. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to confidently use “who” and “whom” in your writing without any hesitation. So let’s dive in!

Who vs. Whom

Who vs. Whom: How to Use Whom vs. Who in Sentences

Definition of Who

“Who” is a pronoun that is used to refer to the subject of a sentence. In other words, it is used to identify the person who is performing the action in a sentence. For example, “Who ate all the cookies?” In this sentence, “who” is used to identify the person who ate the cookies.

Definition of Whom

“Whom” is a pronoun that is used to refer to the object of a sentence. It is used to identify the person who is receiving the action in a sentence. For example, “Whom did you give the cookies to?” In this sentence, “whom” is used to identify the person who received the cookies.

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It is important to note that “whom” is often used after prepositions, such as “to,” “from,” and “with.” For example, “To whom did you give the cookies?” In this sentence, “to” is the preposition, and “whom” is used to identify the person who received the cookies.

Grammar Rules

Subject Pronouns

“Who” is a subject pronoun that is used to refer to the person performing the action in a sentence. For example, “Who is coming to the party?” In this sentence, “who” is the subject pronoun because it refers to the person who is coming to the party.

Object Pronouns

On the other hand, “whom” is an object pronoun that is used to refer to the person receiving the action in a sentence. For example, “Whom did you give the book to?” In this sentence, “whom” is the object pronoun because it refers to the person who received the book.

It’s important to note that “whom” is not commonly used in everyday language. In many cases, “who” is used in place of “whom” without any issues. However, in formal writing or when speaking to someone in a position of authority, it’s best to use “whom” when appropriate.

Proper Usage

When to Use Who

“Who” is used when referring to the subject of a sentence. For example, “Who is coming to the party?” In this sentence, “who” is referring to the person who is doing the action, which is coming to the party.

Another example is, “Who ate all the cookies?” In this sentence, “who” is referring to the person who performed the action of eating the cookies.

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When to Use Whom

“Whom” is used when referring to the object of a sentence. For example, “Whom did you give the gift to?” In this sentence, “whom” is referring to the person who received the action of giving the gift.

Another example is, “To whom should we send the invitation?” In this sentence, “whom” is referring to the person who will receive the action of sending the invitation.

It’s important to note that “whom” is often used after prepositions such as “to,” “from,” and “with.” For example, “From whom did you receive the letter?” In this sentence, “whom” is used after the preposition “from.”

Examples in Sentences

Who in Questions

“Who” is used as the subject of a sentence. Here are some examples of how to use “who” in questions:

  • Who is coming to the party tonight?
  • Who made this delicious cake?
  • Who wants to go on a road trip?

In each of these examples, “who” is the subject of the sentence and is performing the action.

Whom in Questions

“Whom” is used as the object of a verb or preposition. Here are some examples of how to use “whom” in questions:

  • To whom did you give the book?
  • Whom are you inviting to the wedding?
  • From whom did you receive the email?

In each of these examples, “whom” is the object of the verb or preposition and is receiving the action.

It’s important to note that “whom” is becoming less common in modern English, and it’s often acceptable to use “who” in its place. However, in formal writing or when speaking in a particularly formal context, it’s still important to use “whom” when appropriate.

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Quiz and Practice

Identifying Subjects and Objects

Before we dive into the exercises, let’s review how to identify subjects and objects in a sentence. The subject is the person or thing that performs the action in the sentence, while the object is the person or thing that receives the action.

For example, in the sentence “She gave him a book,” “She” is the subject because she is performing the action of giving, while “him” is the object because he is receiving the book.

Who vs. Whom Exercises

Now that we have reviewed the basics of identifying subjects and objects, let’s practice using “who” and “whom” correctly in sentences.

  1. ___________ should I invite to the party? (who/whom)
  2. The teacher asked ___________ to answer the question. (who/whom)
  3. ___________ do you think will win the game? (who/whom)
  4. The manager hired the candidate ___________ had the most experience. (who/whom)
  5. The company gave the promotion to ___________ they thought was most qualified. (who/whom)

Answers: 1. who 2. whom 3. who 4. who 5. whom

Remember, use “who” when referring to the subject of the sentence and “whom” when referring to the object. If you’re having trouble, try rephrasing the sentence to see if “he” or “him” would fit in the blank. If “he” fits, use “who.” If “him” fits, use “whom.”

Last Updated on December 6, 2023

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