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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    hi

    how do i know when to use who and whom

  2. kfredson's Avatar

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    #2

    Re: hi

    Quote Originally Posted by rajnea View Post
    how do i know when to use who and whom
    You use "who" when it is a subject and only use whom when it is an object or follows a preposition:
    To whom did he give it?
    Who gave it to whom?
    He punched whoever got in his way. (Here the entire phrase functions as an object so "whoever" stays the same.)
    Last edited by kfredson; 02-Jan-2010 at 15:47.

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    #3

    Re: hi

    Whom will you invite to this thread?


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    #4

    Re: hi

    Quote Originally Posted by mxreader View Post
    Whom will you invite to this thread?

    Yes, this one is correct.
    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:
    https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/a...-who-what.html
    https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/a...questions.html

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    #5

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    #6

    Re: hi

    Quote Originally Posted by mxreader View Post
    Whom will you invite to this thread?

    Oh, mxreader, please forgive my misunderstanding!
    I thought you were the original poster and this was an additional question.
    Just now I realized you were answering the OP.
    I am really sorry about that.

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    #7

    Re: hi

    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    Oh, mxreader, please forgive my misunderstanding!
    No worries. I was trying to encourage the OP to investigate further about the answer that was presented.

    Here are examples for rajnea to consider:

    The person who liked rajnea posted the message.
    The person whom rajnea liked posted the message.

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    #8

    Re: hi

    Quote Originally Posted by kfredson View Post
    You use "who" when it is a subject and only use whom when it is an object or follows a preposition:

    He punched whomever got in his way. (he got in his way, not 'him got' in his way)
    He punched whomever he wanted to. (he wanted to punch him)
    He punched whoever got in his way. (he got in his way)
    2006


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    #9

    Re: hi

    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    Yes, this one is correct.
    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.
    However, as a native English speaker as the original poster is, I would say use only 'whom' in formal writing if you know how to. Speaking 'whom' even in it's correct position sounds somewhat aloof and out of place. Writing 'whom' in it's correct place looks alright if it is a formal piece of writing, but writing 'who' where it should be 'whom' doesn't look at all bad even in formal writing. You will find many newspaper articles where the author has written 'who' in place of the correct 'whom'.

    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.

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    #10

    Re: hi

    Quote Originally Posted by Linguist__ View Post
    You will find many newspaper articles where the author has written 'who' in place of the correct 'whom'.
    Yes, I know that. However we must realize that newspaper articles are almost always written in a hurry. I do appreciate when I read a book and I see (what I think is) a correct usage of "whom." That happens because I feel the book has passed through professional revisions and proofreadings. I, as a reader, appreciate that care which many editors have with their material. It gives a kind of sense of confidence to the readers. Of course that is not only for "whom" correct usage but for general good written English.


    Quote Originally Posted by Linguist__ View Post
    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.
    Agreed. I used to tell my students the simple: "when it's the subject write 'who', when it's the object write 'whom.' " However, inspired by this post, from now on I will repeat you and tell them "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."

    Quote Originally Posted by Linguist__ View Post
    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"
    Yes, though ones, I still didn't get them clearly.
    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: https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/a...l-pronoun.html

    Quote Originally Posted by Linguist__ View Post
    Try imagining saying to a friend who dials their phone while with you, "Whom are you calling?".
    Good suggestion !!! (I'm kidding (but it is a good suggestion!))

    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."

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