The English language has many grammatical rules that have been lost or ignored in recent years. One of these lost rules has been the proper use of “who” versus “whom”. Many have forgone the word whom and have been inappropriately replacing it with the word who in every sentence instead. This has led to an influx of improper sentences, especially in popular media. This guide will help differentiate the appropriate case for each word.
Before touching on quick tips, it is important to understand how each word is properly used in the English language and why. Who/whoever and whom/whomever are pronouns, which means they are used as substitutes in place of nouns and proper nouns. Who is used in reference to the subject of a sentence and whom is used in reference to the object.
Provided in this section is a simplified explanation of the appropriate use of the two words. This chart illustrates the main differences between the proper usage of the words who and whom by comparing differences and similarities, as well as by providing relevant examples and sentences. This chart is just a rough summary of the main points in the other sections.
While you can definitely go through each sentence and identify the subject or object in order to discern which word, who or whom, is most appropriate, there is a much faster technique to use. This quick and easy trick is called the he/him method and can be applied to any sentence requiring who or whom.
In order to guarantee a confident understanding of the subtle differences between the words who and whom, a quick quiz is presented in this section. Once you have finished the quiz, please refer to the detailed answers below for explanations.
Here, you will find a selection of PDF worksheets for use in classrooms. Feel free to download, print and distribute the worksheets and answers keys.
Now that you have learned something, why not learn a few more things, such as what logical fallacies are, or find out what a pun is?