It can be challenging for some people to remember when to use the word “whom” instead of “who.” Before we compare who and whom, let’s first look at the word “who.” “Who” is used as the subject of a clause, meaning it is completing the action. To check if you’re using it correctly, try substituting it with one of these words: “I,” “you,” “he,” “she” or “it.” If one of those works, “who” is correct.
- Who won the battle?
- He won the battle.
- Who wants to go see a movie?
- She wants to go see a movie.
“Whom” is used as the object of a verb or preposition, meaning it is receiving the action. To test your usage of “whom,” try substituting it with “him,” “her,” “it,” “us” or “them.”
- Whom should I vote for?
- Should I vote for him?
- Whom did she invite?
- She invited
There’s a pretty simple trick to help you distinguish between these two words: If a question can be answered with “him,” the pronoun “whom” is correct. Just remember that both words end with an -m! If it can be answered with “he,” then “who” is correct.
This post contributed by Bianca Price, Summer 2019 Intern.