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Jane Straus - Whoever vs. Whomever

Whoever vs. Whomever

Grammar Book 

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

Brainteaser

 

Can you name the fourteen punctuation marks used in the English language? The answer is at the end of the blog.

 

In a previous blog, I showed you a trick to determine whether to use who or whom:

 

he = who

him = whom

 

In other words, when you can substitute he into your sentence, use who; when you can substitute him, use whom.

 

Examples: Who is at the door? (He is at the door.)

                   Whom will you give the roses to? (Will you give the roses to him?)

 

This week, I will give you the trick for distinguishing between whoever and whomever.

 

him  + he = whoever

him + him = whomever

 

Example: Give it to whoever/whomever asks for it first.

 

Solution: Give it to him. He asks for it first.

Since him + he = whoever, say or write, Give it to whoever asks for it first.

 

Example: We will hire whoever/whomever you recommend.

 

Solution: We will hire him. You recommend him.

Since him + him = whomever, the sentence should be, We will hire whomever you recommend.

 

When the entire whoever/whomever clause is the subject of the verb that follows the clause, look inside the whoever/whomever clause to determine which word to use.

 

Example: Whoever/Whomever is elected will serve a four-year term. 

 

Solution: Whoever is elected is the subject of will serve. Whoever is the subject of is.

So write, Whoever is elected will serve a four-year term.

 

Example: Whoever/Whomever you elect will serve a four-year term. 

Solution: Whomever you elect is the subject of will serve. Whomever is the object of you elect. (You elect him.) So write, Whomever you elect will serve a four-year term.

Quiz

  1. Oscar talks about his job with whoever/whomever will listen.
  2. Teresa donates her time to whoever/whomever needs it most.
  3. Quentin will work on the project with whoever/whomever you suggest.
  4. Whoever/Whomever wins the lottery will become a millionaire.
  5. Give the information to whoever/whomever requests it.

Quiz Answers

  1. Oscar talks about his job with whoever will listen.
  2. Teresa donates her time to whoever needs it most.
  3. Quentin will work on the project with whomever you suggest.
  4. Whoever wins the lottery will become a millionaire.
  5. Give the information to whoever requests it.

Answers to Brainteaser

Period, comma, semicolon, colon, question mark, exclamation mark, quotation mark, apostrophe, hyphen, dash, bracket, brace, ellipsis, parenthesis

Jane Strauss

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