Grammar Tip: Who or Whom

One of the most asked questions about grammar is, “When do I use who and when do I use whom?” Therefore, here is an easy way to remember which one to use:

Grammar Tip: Who or Whom

Image by ArtsyBee (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

Who is always the subject* of a sentence. Whom is (almost) always the object* of a sentence.

For example: Who is writing? In this example, the “who” is the subject because it can be substituted with a proper noun or she/he. “Who is writing” can be substituted with “Sara is writing,” or “She is writing,”

For example: To whom are you writing? Whom is used in this sentence because when it is changed to non-question sentence, it can be replaced with a proper noun or her/him. “You are writing to Sara” or “You are writing to her.” Additionally, whom is often used with a preposition such as “to whom, “with whom,” “for whom, etc.

If the explanation sounds confusing, don’t let it intimidate you. Just remember, If “who/whom” should be replaced with she or he, use who. If the “who/whom” should be replaced with her or him, use whom.

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*In case you need a little refresher: the subject of a sentence is a person, place, thing, or idea (a.k.a. noun) who is doing the action or being. Example: Sara writes. In this sentence, Sara is the person doing the writing and the “doer” of the action.

An object of the sentence in the person or thing that is “receiving” the action. Example: Sara writes stories. In this sentence, stories is the object because it is the thing being written.