who vs whom : Common Errors in English

About who vs whom

“Whom” has been dying an agonizing death for decades—you’ll notice there are no Whoms in Dr. Seuss’s Whoville. Many people never use the word in speech at all. However, in formal writing, critical readers still expect it to be used when appropriate. The distinction between “who” and “whom” is basically simple: “who” is the subject form of this pronoun and “whom” is the object form. “Who was wearing that awful dress at the Academy Awards banquet?” is correct because “who” is the subject of the sentence. “The MC was so startled by the neckline that he forgot to whom he was supposed to give the Oscar” is correct because “whom” is the object of the preposition “to.” So far so good.Now consider this sort of question: “Who are you staring at?” Although strictly speaking the pronoun should be “whom,” nobody who wants to be taken seriously would use it in this case, though it is the object of the preposition “at.” (Bothered by ending the sentence with a preposition? See .) “Whom” is very rarely used even by careful speakers as the first word in a question, and many authorities have now conceded the point.There is another sort of question in which “whom” appears later in the sentence: “I wonder whom he bribed to get the contract?” This may seem at first similar to the previous example, but here “whom” is not the subject of any verb in the sentence; rather it is part of the noun clause which itself is the object of the verb “wonder.” Here an old gender-biased but effective test for “whom” can be used. Try rewriting the sentence using “he” or “him.” Clearly “He bribed he” is incorrect; you would say “he bribed him.” Where “him” is the proper word in the paraphrased sentence, use “whom.”Instances in which the direct object appears at the beginning of a sentence are tricky because we are used to having subjects in that position and are strongly tempted to use “who“: “Whomever Susan admired most was likely to get the job.” (Test: “She admired him.” Right?)Where things get really messy is in statements in which the object or subject status of the pronoun is not immediately obvious. Example: “The police gave tickets to whoever had parked in front of the fire hydrant.” The object of the preposition “to” is the entire noun clause, “whoever had parked in front of the fire hydrant,” but “whoever” is the subject of that clause, the subject of the verb “had parked.” Here’s a case where the temptation to use “whomever” should be resisted.Confused? Just try the “he or him” test, and if it’s still not clear, go with “who.” You’ll bother fewer people and have a fair chance of being right.

who Meaning(s)

  • (n) a United Nations agency to coordinate international health activities and to help governments improve health services

who in News

  1. Who owns Happy Birthday? Class action lawsuit argues it all of us

    Who owns Happy Birthday? Class action lawsuit argues it all of us
    on June 14, 2013 Source: CNNMoney.com via Yahoo! Finance

  2. Woman who robbed bank in nun costume gets 7 1/2 years

    A woman who stole $120,000 in cash in a takeover-style bank robbery modeled after the movie, “The Town,” was sentenced today to 7 1/2 years in prison.        
    on June 14, 2013 Source: Chicago Tribune

  3. Who Wins in This Asset Sell-Off?

    Who Wins in This Asset Sell-Off?        
    on June 14, 2013 Source: The Motley Fool

whom in News

  1. Trial of accused mobster 'Whitey' Bulger turns to bookmakers

    BOSTON (Reuters) - Testimony in the murder and racketeering trial of James "Whitey" Bulger will shift on Friday to some of the small-time Boston bookmakers from whom the accused mob boss's gang demanded tribute payments. His trial on charges including murder and racketeering represents the conclusion of one of Boston's longest-running crime dramas, which saw the alleged leader of the "Winter ...
    on June 14, 2013 Source: Reuters via Yahoo! News

  2. Melissa McCarthy Breaks Silence on Rex Reed: '[He's] Swimming in So Much Hate'

    The "Identity Thief" star, whom the reviewer called "tractor-sized," worries how his mean-spirited brand of criticism might affect younger girls. read more        
    on June 14, 2013 Source: The Hollywood Reporter

  3. Who Is Fooling Whom When It Comes to Combating Climate Change?

    Who Is Fooling Whom When It Comes to Combating Climate Change?
    on June 11, 2013 Source: Scientific American via Yahoo! News

Lightning fast vocabulary building for SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT and CAT