Grammar Tips (5): Use of “Who” and “Whom”

In Careers, Education, Enterprise, Personal Branding, Personal Growth by tmc0 Comments

A common error some people make is mistaking “who” for “whom” and “whom” for “who”. In a sentence, “who” is used as a subject while “whom” is used as the object of a verb or preposition.

You can tell when a pronoun is the object of a verb or preposition, by substituting that pronoun with “he” or “she” and “him” or “her”. If “he” or “she” fits the bill, you should use “who”. If “him” or “her” fits, you should use “whom”.

Please bear in mind that you may have to temporary rearrange the sentence a bit while you test it.

E.g.:

Who/whom drank my coffee?

Substitute “he” and “him”.

“He” drank my coffee. He drank my coffee.

So you see… the word you want is “who”.

Also, you can use questions to determine when to use “who” and when to use “whom”. Are you talking about someone who is doing something? Is the subject performing the action?

E.g.:

The car was driven to school by Rasheed.

In this case, the subject of the sentence “car” is not performing the action, thus to create a question, you will need to use “whom”.

That is,

The car was driven to school by whom?

Or

By whom was the car driven to school?

Even though many people do not use whom in casual speech or writing, some still confuse it with “who”. Hope these grammar tips have been helpful? Please leave your comments below.

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