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Jane Straus - Who vs. Whom

Who vs. Whom

GrammarBook

Jane Straus is the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation and developer of GrammarBook.com

Brain Teaser

What are the three English words that begin with dw? The answer is at the bottom of this blog.

Who vs. Whom

Even native English speakers get confused between who and whom. If you use a simple trick, you will be able to feel more confident in your choice:

who = he

whom = him

Substitute he or him in place of who/ whom and you will often be able to “hear” the correct answer.

Example: Who/whom wrote the letter?

You would say, “He wrote the letter.” Therefore, you would write, Who wrote the letter?

Example: To who/whom should I deliver this package?

You would say, “I should deliver this package to him.” Therefore, use whom.

Notice that we changed the order of the words to find our answer. You are allowed to reorganize your clause (a group of words containing a subject and verb) as long as you don’t add or subtract any words.

Example: We all know who/whom pulled that prank.

We all know is one clause and who/whom pulled that prank is another clause. Ignore the clause that doesn’t contain who/whom. So would you say, “He pulled that prank” or “Him pulled that prank”? Answer: He pulled that prank. Therefore, who is the correct pronoun.

Quiz

  1.  Who/Whom do you depend on for financial advice?
  2.  Anyone who/whom wants to can learn to dance.
  3.  The person who/whom was in charge of bookkeeping embezzled funds.

Quiz Answers

  1.  Whom do you depend on for financial advice?
  2.  Anyone who wants to can learn to dance.
  3.  The person who was in charge of bookkeeping embezzled funds.

Doesn’t this make you curious about whoever vs. whomever? If so, read the next blog.

Brain Teaser Answer

dwell, dwindle, dwarf

Jane Strauss


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