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The Difference Between Who & Whom

English – it can be such a complex language. There are so many grammar rules and exceptions for only 26 letters of the alphabet. Individuals from non-English speaking countries often find it very difficult to master the language. However, many of the exceptions are so confusing that native English speakers also struggle with attempting to learn every rule.

Many of the common errors tend to appear in the writing completed by both native and non-native English speakers. For example, the words who and whom are often confused because of their similarity.

 

Who

The term "who" is a subjective pronoun meaning "what, or which person(s)." This is a much more common word than the "whom." The word refers to the subject of the sentence which happens to be the friend in the second example.

 

"Who would like to come with me to the store to buy some ice cream?"

"It was my friend who told me about the sale at the new department store."

 

Whom

The term "whom" is a pronoun that is used as the object of a verb or a preceding preposition. The word refers to the object of the sentence.

"I wonder whom she convinced to buy the tickets for her."

 

If you are having problems remembering this rule, there is a fairly simple way to determine which word you should use. You can try substituting the words "he/him" or "she/her" in the sentence. Determine which one sounds correct. If the answer is him or her, you need to use the word "whom" in the sentence. If the answer is he or she, you should use the word "who" instead.

 

"We filed a complaint against the man whom we hired to complete the renovations."

Rewritten Sentence

"We filed a complaint against the man. We hired him to complete the renovations."

 

 

"Who wrote the essay on animal behaviour that was submitted last week?"

Rewritten Sentence

"She wrote the essay on animal behaviour that was submitted last week."

 

 

As you can see, using the above rule will help you determine the correct word every time.