Topic: Who or Whom?

If a friend asks, “With whom are you going to the movies this weekend?” she’s not being pretentious, just grammatically correct. Knowing when to use “who” or “whom” is tricky, but you can learn the difference. Or, you can use a trick. Read on…

Fast facts:
Both “who” and “whom” are pronouns, or words that replace nouns.
“Who” is used to refer to the subject of a clause. The subject is the person doing something.
“Whom” is used to refer to the object of a clause. The object is the person having something done to them.

Here’s a trick to figure out which pronoun to use. Try answering the question with the word “him.” If that sounds right, the correct pronoun is “whom.” You can remember that because both “him” and “whom” end with “m.” If the answer sounds better with “he,” the correct pronoun is “who.”

So, look back to the beginning of this lesson. The question is about the movies. To answer it using “him,” you’d say, “I’m going with him.” That sounds right, so you know that using “whom” in the question is the correct pronoun.

People often start letters with, “To whom it may concern.” Is that use of “whom” correct? Answer the question using “him” to check the grammar. On this line, write the answer and put a check if “whom” is correct.

Look through the newspaper to find at least three uses of “who” or “whom”. Write the examples you found. Check the grammar to see if each is correctly used. Mark a check if the pronoun is used correctly or an X if it is not used correctly.

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