Blue Flower

How To Quickly Choose Who Or Whom And Whoever Or Whomever In A Sentence.

Many people, including myself, get confused on choosing from the words who and whom for sentences.  I won't get into all the background information, Subject, Object, Tense, Verb, etc. relations and simply jump into an easy way to decide which to use.

This is what helps me, and I put it here to reference when I need it and for others to use too.

The following is for Amglish (USA language), and probably for English too.

Please note that I do not get paid to write these articles.  This is a best effort article.  If errors found, then please let me know.

What To Do For Who Or Whom Usage Selection

  1. Mentally start your sentence with WHO/WHOM.
  2. Then mentally replace the WHO/WHOM with the appropriate word of either HE/SHE or HIM/HER.
  3. Determine which works for the sentence and use it.  If the sentence makes sense with the words of either HE or SHE, then the answer is to use WHO.  If the sentence makes sense only with the substitution of HIM or HER, then the answer is to use WHOM.

 

Example 1:

  1. Barrack Obama, who/whom is the 44th President of the United States Of America, was a Congressman previously.
  2. "Him is the 44th President ....." does not work.  "He is the 44th President ....." makes sense, and thus WHO should be used.
  3. Barrack Obama, who is the 44th President of the United States Of America, was a Congressman previously.

 

Example 2:

The following example is more complicated because it is not obvious at first glance where to put the HE/SHE or HIM/SHE.  When a she or an he follows WHO/WHOM in your sentence, then you need to put the replacement test HE/SHE and HIM/HER after the verb that follows the already existing she or he in your sentence.  Obviously replacing the WHO/WHOM with a SHE/HE or HIM/HER does not work.

  1. Nancy got her new job when she met Mrs. Nice, WHO/WHOM she met in an Internet chat room.
  2. "She met 'her' in an Internet chat room" makes sense.  "She met 'she' in an Internet chat room" does not work.  Thus, WHOM should be used, since the sentence works with only the word HER.
  3. Nancy got her new job when she met Mrs. Nice, whom she met in an Internet chat room.

 

The substitution method described above also works when done with THEY and THEM. If the sentence works with THEY substituted in it, then use WHO.  If the sentence works with THEM substituted in it, then use WHOM.

Example 3:

  1. The Persians, WHO/WHOM ruled an empire from Spain to East Asia, and from North Asia to South Asia, and to North Africa, eventually reduced down to what is now called Iran.
  2. "They ruled an empire from...." works.  "Them ruled an empire from....." does not work. 
  3. Thus "The Persians, who ruled an empire from Spain......is now called Iran" would be used.

 

What To Do For Who Or Whom Usage Selection

The substitution method described above in the earlier above section also works when when trying to decide if you should use WHOEVER, or WHOMEVER.  The same method described at the top would be used by which HE/SHE or HIM/HER is substituted as a test.  If the sentence makes sense with the words of either HE or SHE, then the answer is to use WHOEVER.  If the sentence makes sense only with the substitution of HIM or HER, then the answer is to use WHOMEVER.

  1. Mentally start your sentence with WHOEVER/WHOMEVER.
  2. Then mentally replace the WHOEVER/WHOMEVER with the appropriate word of either HE/SHE or HIM/HER.
  3. Determine which works for the sentence and use it.  If the sentence makes sense with the words of either HE or SHE, then the answer is to use WHO.  If the sentence makes sense only with the substitution of HIM or HER, then the answer is to use WHOM.

Example 4:

  1. WHOEVER/WHOMEVER raises her hand first, gets the red balloon.
  2. "'She' raises her hand first, gets the red balloon" makes sense.  "'Her' raises her hand first, gets the red balloon" does not work.   
  3. Thus "Whoever raises her hand first, gets the red balloon" would be used.

 

Example 5:

  1. WHOEVER/WHOMEVER reaches the flag first, wins the race!
  2. "'He' reaches the flag first, wins the race" makes sense.  "'Him' reaches the flag first, wins the race" does not work.   
  3. Thus "Whoever reaches the flag first, wins the race" would be used.

 

 

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