Who or Whom?
If you are ever unsure whether you should use 'who' or 'whom', the full answer is here. But the real truth is that most of the time you're OK if you go with what sounds right to you.
Given that around 98% of us often use ‘who’ and ‘whom’ wrong when we are talking, it’s comforting to know that a slip-up won’t actually change the meaning of your sentence. In speech, ‘who’ generally sounds better – even when ‘whom’ is actually more grammatically accurate.
When it comes to the written word, however, it’s useful to know how to check what is strictly correct.
You should use ‘who’ when referring to the subject of a sentence, and ‘whom’ when referring to the object. To help with this, think of ‘he’ (subject) and ‘him’ (object). Like the word ‘whom’, the object ‘him’ ends with m. If your sentence would sound better with ‘he’ rather than ‘him’, use ‘who’ .
Try using this rule in practice today. Let’s start off with a question:
“If you could meet anyone, who would you meet?”
How would you answer that question? “Brad Pitt: I would meet he” – or “Brad Pitt: I would meet him.”
The second version sounds better, doesn’t it? – “Brad Pitt: I would meet him.” That means that our question above should have used ‘whom’, because the pronoun we will be using is ‘him’. So our question should actually read “If you could meet anyone, whom would you meet?” You probably thought it sounded fine though, didn’t you?
Now try these:
1. [Who / whom] is coming for tea?
2. I liked the juror, [who / whom] we spoke to at length.
3. My son’s teacher, [who / whom] helped him through his exams
1. Who is coming for tea? – He is coming for tea.
2. I liked the juror, whom we spoke to at length. – We spoke to him at length.
3. My son’s teacher, who helped him through his exams – He helped my son.
Does that make sense? If not, comment below and we will try to make it clearer. Remember, using ‘whom’ does quite often sound strange and old-fashioned, even in writing and when it is correct. If you are writing something quite informal, just go with what sounds best.
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