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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Who v. Whom

Who v. Whom

Hold on to your hat. The use is both complicated and simple.

Who and whom are both pronouns, which we all know are words that take the place of nouns, which we all know are people, places, things or ideas. The decision about whether to use who or to use whom depends on the role it plays in the sentence. Who is always the subject of a sentence, which we all know is the person, place, thing or idea doing the action. Whom is always the object in a sentence, which we all know is the person, place, thing or idea receiving the action of the verb.

     For example: Who plans to give the bad news to the people? When we arrive, we give the news to whom?
     To whom much is given, much is expected. Who, though, grants these gifts? I am the one who imparts them to my children.

Hint: Still having trouble deciding when to use who and when to use whom? Try inserting he and him into the sentence. If he works, then who is the pronoun you seek. If him works, then whom is what you want.

Tomorrow: X

This post is brought to you by the April A to Z Blog Challenge. Check back all through April for daily discussions of writing conventions.


A.F.E. Smith said...

Out of interest, how rigorous do you tend to be with who/whom? For instance, 'Who are you going with?' should really be 'Whom are you going with?' (or in fact 'With whom are you going?'), but it's pretty rare to find anyone who would use that construction these days. Just curious, as an editor and fellow writer!

Lucy Adams said...

My rigor with who v. whom depends on my audience and my topic. If I'm writing my monthly health column in Augusta Magazine, I adhere to the formal rules of grammar. If I'm writing my weekly newspaper humor column, I tend to break the rules to speak in the language of my audience.

Good question. Thank you for asking.


Grover said...

I sometimes get confused with these two, so thanks for the he/him tip :)

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

That was helpful.

Wendy said...

That's my trick too, Lucy -- it's all about the "m" (him/whom). My tip is when in doubt, go with WHO because even when it's wrong, it sounds right. WHOM used incorrectly always sounds horrible.

The Golden Eagle said...

This has a tendency to throw me off when I'm writing. After having learned the he/him who/whom rule, it's made things a lot easier, though.

The Golden Eagle
The Eagle's Aerial Perspective

William Kendall said...

I tend to get thrown off a bit by this one too.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Lucy .. another great and simply put post - thank you! Hilary

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