WHO VS WHOM

01, Mar 2020WHO VS WHOM

Who vs. Whom is a phenomenon that makes even the grammar lovers stumble of the thought of which one to use. Other than that the use of whom is getting outdated which might make the grammarians upset. 'Who' and 'whom' are not different rather each of them serves a specific purpose. One needs to maintain and concentrate on the sentence structure to use these pronouns accurately. After comparing several examples and paying attention to the sentence structure you would be able to distinguish between who and whom and you would also learn their correct use.

PARTS OF SPEECH: A QUICK REFRESHER

The sentence is constructed upon a subject a predicate. The predicate must have a verb and an object in some cases. Whereas the subject is a noun i.e. a person, thing, animal, etc. The verb tells us about action and the object is that entity on which the action is being performed.

This is the basic structure of a sentence however it can get complicated also. In English, we have an order of a sentence which is known as the grammatical structure the order is Subject+Verb+Object (S+V+O). The following are the examples of a basic declaration or statement of English:

  1. John bought a bicycle.
  2. Maria likes Anna.
  3. My neighbors are having a party.
  4. The Petrakis are my relatives.
  5. Our boss called the artist.

Now using these sentences we would be explaining the use of who and whom.

 

WHO

'Who' is a pronoun that is used as an alternative to a singular or plural subject it also represents a singular or plural subject of a sentence. Moreover Who can also be used in a question or a statement.

EXAMPLES:

The following examples as discussed below explain the use of who in a sentence:

  1. Who are you?
  2. I cannot find out who stole my car.
  3. Who wants to eat pizza?
  4. Who is that in the kitchen?

Now we would use the previous examples to make questions out of those statements

  1. Who bought the bicycle? (Who replaced John)
  2. Who likes Anna? (Who replaced Maria)
  3. Who is having a party? (Who replaced neighbors)
  4. Who are your relatives? (The Petrakis are my relatives because the Subject is Petrakis and relatives is an object)
  5. Who called the artist? (Who replaced our boss)

Now let’s take the original examples to another stage where they will become a statement and would answer the questions directly.

  1. I do not know who bought a bicycle.
  2. I do not want to know who likes Anna.
  3. I am not concerned about who is having a party.
  4. I did not know who your relatives are.
  5. I know who called the artist.

Take notes that 'who' always replaces a subject of a sentence either singular or plural.

WHOM

'Whom' is a pronoun that refers to the object of a sentence either singular or plural. 'Whom' can also be applied in a question or statement. Now you can discriminate between who and whom and their uses. Whom does not always follow a preposition as in the case of a direct object a preposition is not needed. A clause follows whom.

EXAMPLES

Some of these examples discussed below will clarify the use of whom:

  1. To whom am I interviewing?
  2. Whom are you watching?
  3. Do not tell me whom should I play with!
  4. With whom did you watch the movie?
  5. Whom did he call?
  6. I do not know whom should I dance with.
  7. By whom is he walking?

Now we would expand the original examples to explain the notion of whom further.

Sentence 1: Maria likes Anna.

Who: Who likes Anna?

Whom: Whom does Maria like?

Sentence 2: My neighbors are having a party.

Who: Who is having a party?

Whom: By whom the party is organized?

Take notes that 'whom' replace the object of a verb or a preposition.

THE MODERN USE OF WHO

In casual conversation you might hear sentences like:

  1. Who is your cousin living with?
  2. Who did John buy the bicycle for?

This is the pattern according to which a sentence is formed and it is accepted speech and sometimes in writing also but this frame does not count for writing appropriately. If you want the writing to be authentic and sound professional you should use whom as required in a sentence. Moreover, the New York Times has discussed this laziness regarding the use of who and whom you must seek consultation from their blog also.

HOW TO USE WHO AND WHOM CORRECTLY

Both who and whom pronouns can be applied in questions or statements.

  • Who replaces the subject.
  • Whom replaces the object.

The easiest way to deduce whether to use 'who' or 'whom' is to see if 'he' and 'him' adjust into the sentence or not. However 'she' and 'her' can also work in this regard but 'he' and 'him' sounds more appropriate.

EXAMPLE

  1. He bought the cake. (Who bought the cake?)
  2. 'Him' bought the cake. No
  3. I gave the cake to 'he'. No
  4. I gave the cake to him. (To whom did you give the cake?)

In the case of casual writing and speaking 'whom' is being disused but in formal speeches and writings one should prefer to use whom to make it sound grammatically valid. It does not matter if you are writing for a story about an illiterate character then you would use whom in his dialogues but if you are writing something professional then use whom to make it appear professional for the sake of your reputation.