Who vs. whom is a grammar conundrum that trips up even the most seasoned English teachers. When do you use which word? Should you always use <whom> because it sounds better? Never fear, you can tackle this grammarian nightmare with a few simple tricks.
Both <who> and <whom> are pronouns used to describe an individual. <Who> is used when that individual is the subject of the sentence. <Whom> is used when that individual is the object of the sentence. Here’s a verbal trick to make sure you have the right usage: <he> corresponds with <who> and <him> corresponds with <whom>. Here’s how to put it in action:
- Start with your sentence:I wasn’t sure who would be bringing over the book.
- Try plugging in <he> and <him> to answer your sentence: He is bringing the book over.
- Check the sentence: Since the answering sentence begins with <he>, you know you should use <who>!
Now here’s the reverse:
- Start with your sentence: Whom do you love?
- Try plugging in <he> and <him> to answer your sentence: I love him.
- Check the sentence: Since the answering sentence ends with <him>, you know you should use <whom>!
With this grammar trick up your sleeve, you’ll never get confused by these two words again.