Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Eternity, May 17, 2010.
When is it correct/incorrect to use who and whom?
Thanks in advance!
Other, far more technically learned people will be along later to give you a definitive answer to this question, and I shall bow to their superior knowledge.
Personally, I tend to use "who" whenever the "m" has fallen off my keyboard.
I think 'who' is tied to the subject of a clause:
He who would have thought.
'Whom' is tied to the object and compliment clause:
The car was driven by a man whom niether of us like.
'who' is used in object position but only in informal contexts:
The pig who I'm looking for is... (The pig whom I'm looking for is...)
I think that's how I remember being taught. Although I prefer Hal's 'm' falling off the keyboard explanation.
I don't know if I can explain this properly, but I'll try. Mind you, I have no idea if this is a legitimate answer, but it's what my mama told me ages ago, and I've always lived by it.
You have to figure out how you would answer the question you're asking. Take the example, "Who/Whom are you taking to the movies?" You could answer that with, "I'm taking him." You WOULDN'T answer it with "I'm taking he."
And with that, she told me that whenever you would answer it with "him/her/them", you would use "whom". Whenever you would use it with "he/she/they", you would use "who". So that sentence would be "Whom are you taking to the movies."
So like... "Who/Whom won the game last night?" You wouldn't use "him/her/them", you'd use "he/she/they". So it'd be "Who won the game last night."
Ahh, I hope I haven't confused you more... it really is hard explaining that! I'm sure there's a much easier and more professional way of explaining just when you'd use which, but I tried! I hope you got what I'm saying, and I hope it helps you.
And editing a little, because I forgot, haha... You can of course use this little trick when it's not a question being asked, as well. When who or whom is used in a statement, you simply have to re-state what you're saying AS a question. Eh, I'm making this sound confusing again, haha... Example!
"Michael, who/whom was good at sailing, loved chocolate."
The question I would ask myself is, who was it that was good at sailing? HE, Michael, was, not HIM was. So you'd used who, instead of whom.
"She smiled at the boys who/whom she rescued." Who did she smile at? THEM, the children, not THEY. So you'd use whom.
I should probably give up now, hahaha.
who: as the subject of the verd
Everybody who are able-bodied should stand in the front.
Whom: as the object of the verb
The children whom she adore.
whom: after prepositions
To whom do we ask?
google is your best friend and the quickest source of answers for such stuff:
google who vs whom
I tried googling it but didn't find the succinct, simple explanation I was looking for... the detail I found was all very complicated and long-winded! But thanks for the tip anyway! I might go and have another look.
This website explains how to use who and whom quite well. Hope it helps.
Wow! That is a really good website! I found the info I needed a few hours ago, on another site. But thanks still, Reality!!
Just wanted to throw it out there, Why don't they teach this stuff better in school. I mean I literally did not learn this until I was in college. That is not right.
Nice answers by the way, very informative.
So you each know the difference between: who and whom.
Then what is the difference between:
he and him, she and her, they and them
or perhaps we could do
have , will have, had, has had & had had
he and him, et al have been discussed to death recently, in another thread...
verb tenses are explained here:
I so agree with that, Miss Belle. Just going off on a little tangent... but, going from homeschooling until Yr 9 and then straight into VCE at school was a huge shock for me when 18 and 19 year olds in my Yr 11 class were asking things such as "what are nouns?" "what is the difference between a verb and an adjective?" I couldn't believe it, since I did these things at home in Grade 4. These people would have had no idea, if I'd asked them, what a clause is, or a prepositional phrase, or even a coordinating conjunction... I can't imagine how someone going through the school system their whole life can manage with VCE and Uni, when they aren't taught the basics in primary school. ...and I know that sounds funny, since it's me that started this thread ... I've always known when to use who/whom, but never actually know the grammatical rule for when to use them. :redface:
Also liked the answers that poured in. Thanks again everyone!
Oddly, I do recall my teacher covering this territory in like the fourth or fifth grade. I think the learning problem is on the receiver. I know the class studied this, just not all of them retained it. That's probably the case with most people who complain about not being taught this or that in grade school. Adolescents have too much going on in their lives to consider anything that has anything to do with school to be important.
Yes, you have a point. I didn't think of it this way before.
But then... my Mum always said she was never taught this stuff in school - that's why she chose to home school her children. And she was a very diligent, straight-A student in school, so I think, if she was taught, she would have remembered.
Separate names with a comma.