Student or Learner
how do i know when to use who and whom
Last edited by kfredson; 02-Jan-2010 at 14:47.
Whom will you invite to this thread?
Observe and learn kfredson's examples.
In my opinion a beginning English student is allowed to use only "who" in all instances.
However, an advanced student for sure must concern about this problem.
And as a teacher, you must master it, and be ready to give your students examples of good usage and answer all their questions about it.
There are many fine grammars with a good approach to this subject, and also many rich material in the internet. I suggest you study it and post some specific doubts here.
Finally I recomend you to read the following threads:
See also this older one:
A much more grave violation of our precious language is to write 'whom' where it should be 'who'.
It's easy enough to say 'when it's the subject write 'who', when it's the object write 'whom' when we are dealing with simple sentences. Formal written English can create quite complex sentences where trying to decipher who is the object and who is the subject is a chore. For example, fill in the blank to these sentences:
"Meanwhile GPs, ____ the Government assumed were eager to take on hospital work such as small operations, are giving warnings..."
"The other's from unmarried friends from way back, ____ we thought were like us; happily unmarried, but bound by a clutch of deliberate offspring"
My point is that to mix these words up isn't noticeable to most people who speak English. For those that do know the rules, saying 'who' in all cases is much less 'offensive' than saying 'whom' when it should be 'who'.
As for speaking, saying 'whom' even in it's correct position sounds awkward. Try imagining saying to a friend who dials their phone while with you, "Whom are you calling?".
Of course knowing these rules is great, and being able to use them is even better. But my guess is almost everyone who speaks will use 'who', even if it was supposed to be whom.
In those two examples I gave with the blank, both should be who.
In the first one "The Government assumed them were eager to take on ... " does not work, but rather "The Government assumed they were eager to take on ... " Since the correct pronoun is "they" instead of "them" you must use "who" instead of "whom."
In the second one a similar analysis leads to "We thought they were like us."
Again the correct on is "who."
Is this the correct justification for using "who" instead of "whom" here ?
I must confess that without seeing your answer at the end of the post I would have used "whom."
Maybe my above analysis is impregnated with some doubts I have about this subject which I posted last year here: http://www.usingenglish.com/forum/as...l-pronoun.html
Finally I would like to ask a question: Is the rule which prescribes that after a preposition one uses "whom" instead of "who" completely general? Without exceptions? Does anybody know an exception to this rule?
If there is no exception, I guess this is a safe place to always use "whom."