Who vs Whom

Who vs Whom

Knock, Knock.

Who’s there?


To who?

Did you just grimace, thinking, “No! It should be ‘To whom’”? Or are you wondering what the joke is?

This lesson will sort out your who/whom woes.

First, let’s make something clear: online writing is mostly informal, and “whom” is becoming less common, so it often sounds pedantic. Therefore, you can probably get away with just using “who”.

However, if your client is looking for a more formal style, you might want to use “whom”.

Who Is the Subject

As you learned in the sentences lesson, every sentence has a subject, which is doing the action.

“Who” is correct when it is the subject of a sentence.

Right: Who is that?

Right: Who was at the party last night?

Whom Is the Object

The object of a sentence is the person or thing that is having the action done to it. “Whom” is the correct object form.

Right: Whom do you love?

Right: Morgan gave the gift to whom?

While these examples are correct, they are not colloquial. If you want your writing to sound conversational, you can write, “Who do you love?” and  “Who did Morgan give the gift to?”

Choose Who

Some people, wanting to sound educated, use “whom” all the time, even when “who” is actually correct.

Don’t do this!

It makes you sound ridiculous and stuffy, which isn’t want you want in your writing. If you’re ever unsure whether you should use “who” or “whom”, choose “who”.

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