Of all the English grammatical rules you can find confusing, the who vs. whom debate is always at the forefront. The difference is subtle, making it easy for second language English learners, and even first language English speakers, to confuse the two.
However, there's no need to worry. Once you get to know the difference between who and whom, it becomes easier to use them correctly in your papers. Our experts at MyAssignmenthelp.com have come up with a simple guide to help you figure out the distinction.
How To Know When To Use Who Vs. Whom?
The best way to know when to use who vs. whom is to understand the fundamental difference between the two.
Who is a subjective pronoun, while Whom is an objective pronoun.
Therefore, you use who as the subject of a verb, whereas whom is the object of a sentence.
For example, in the sentence "It is Sarah's sister who scored the highest in class," 'who' denotes Sarah's sister, the subject of the verb scored. Again, 'whom' is the object of the verb dance. in the sentence "With whom did you dance last night?"
Many students find this distinction challenging initially and confuse between whom vs. who in academic papers, thereby reducing their grades significantly. As a result, MyAssignmenthelp.com offers instant assignment help with English grammar to free your assignment of such errors.
Exception To The General Rule of Who vs. Whom
According to the general rule, you have to use whom to refer to an object of a verb or preposition. However, such is not always the case. An exception states that you have to use whom after a preposition at the beginning of a sentence or clause. You have to follow this rule regardless of whether it is the object or not.
For example, "For whom do you weep so much?" or "To whom would you like me to deliver this letter?" Here, you cannot write "For who do…" or "To who would you…" even though whom is not the object of the sentence.
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Easy Steps To Distinguish When To Use Whom Or Who
While it's true that figuring out when to use 'who' and 'whom' can be challenging, there are some simple tips to make the task easier.
1. Substantiate the words
The difference between 'who' and 'whom' is similar to the one between I and me, she and her, he and him. Therefore, the best way to check if you should use who or whom in a sentence is to substantiate the pronoun with 'he' or 'she. If the sentence makes sense, then the correct answer is who.
However, if the sentence makes sense when you substantiate with him or her, the correct pronoun is whom in that case.
a. [Who/Whom] is playing the song?
Correct – He is playing the song.
Incorrect – Him is playing the song.
Therefore, the correct answer, in this case, is 'Who is playing the song?'
b. [Who/Whom] do you love?
Correct – I love her.
Incorrect – I love she.
Therefore, the correct answer here is 'Whom do you love?'
2. Distinguish from the subject or object
While the first method of distinction is the easiest, there is another way you can distinguish between who versus whom. Here, you have to follow some steps like,
- Step 1 – Identify all verbs in the sentence
- Step 2 – Find the subjects that correspond to each verb
- Step 3 – If it is the subject doing the action, then use who
- Step 4 – If it is the object that receives an action, then use whom
With the help of these two methods, you can quickly figure out which between who vs. whom you need to use in your writing.
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More Examples Of Who vs. Whom
Now that you know how to distinguish between the two pronouns, going through some who vs. whom examples can help reinforce those ideas in your mind.
Examples of the correct use of who in a sentence
1. I know who broke the glass window. (He/She broke the glass. Not him/her.)
2. Jack is the one who saw the ghost. (He saw the ghost, not him.)
3. The one who voted for Sarah is Ashley. (She voted for Ashley, not her.)
4. Who can help me solve this problem? (He/She can help me solve the problem, not him/her.)
5. Who is responsible for this chaos? (He/she is responsible, not him/her.)
Examples of the correct use of whom in a sentence
1. The people whom they found in the city were unlike any they had ever seen before. (They found him/her, not he/she.)
2. Whom were you waiting for? (I was waiting for him/her, not he/she.)
3. We knew whom he had stolen the money from. (We knew he had stolen the money from him/her, not he/she.)
4. "To whom shall I confess my sins?" (I shall confess my sins to him/her, not he/she.)
5. Whom does the baby look like? (The baby looks like him/her, not he/she.)
Thus, with the help of the substitution tip, you can quickly figure out whether a sentence needs who or whom to be grammatically correct.
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Struggling To Make Sense Of Who vs. Whom In Your Academic Papers?
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The complexities of English grammar can be alarmingly challenging, even for those whose first language is English. For example, many university students have confessed that they have trouble understanding the who vs. whom differences. Thus, it's no surprise that grammatical errors are a common reason behind low grades in assignments. You can use grammar checker tool as well.
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