Who and Whom: The New You’re and Your

7 Jan

Thanks to contributions from grammaticians, we have made significant progress in the cure for knowing when to use your and you’re. I feel the need to raise awareness about a different grammar disease: who and whom wrongful interchangeability. This highly infectious disease is caused from not paying attention in fifth grade English class. Its worst symptom is the inability to distinguish between subjects and objects of clauses. The incubation period for this disease is very short—as soon as you contract it, you will present symptoms of this disorder. Do you have this disease? Here are a few warning signs of this disease:

If you think the usage of who is correct in the following sentences, you may want to contact your family grammatician:

  • Who am I talking to?
  • Who can we trust?
  • I don’t know who he invited.

However, you can protect yourself and your loved ones from this gruesome disease if you educate yourself.

When using who, you are referring to the subject of a clause. When using whom, you are referring to the object of a clause. The subject is the doer; the object is the receiver. Mixing up the pronouns who and whom is like using she for her—it just doesn’t make sense. No one would think to say “He loves she.” That’s because “He loves her” not only sounds right, but is right. Its not “me want cake” its “I want cake.” She and I are subjects, while her and me are objects. Using who as an object (He loves who?) is just like saying “He loves she.” They’re both wrong, but most people don’t notice that who is used incorrectly. When in doubt of choosing who or whom, think if whether she or her would work in the sentence. Replace all she’s with who’s and all her’s with whom’s.

It is a pandemic, but it doesn’t have to be. Continue to educate yourself on this dreadful disease and stay tuned for more grammar posts on my blog!

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20 Responses to “Who and Whom: The New You’re and Your”

  1. ashestoashes2012 8 June 2012 at 8:34 am #

    Oh, the dreaded who/whom dilemma. I always hated this part of grammar tests when interviewing for a new reporting job. 😉

  2. Claudia :] 8 June 2012 at 10:14 am #

    Thank you! I’ve been confused about these two for a long time. I may finally be on my way to understanding. :’)

  3. jparjets21 8 June 2012 at 2:36 pm #

    I always feel pretentious and unsure when using who or whom. Now, I can appoach this with confidence.

    Question: Would it be He who speaks with confidence….or….He whom speaks with confidence? Why?

    Thanks!

    • berndavis 8 June 2012 at 5:42 pm #

      Its who because who is the subject of the clause. It doesn’t matter that it’s the object of the sentence. It’s all about what’s the subject or object of the clause. Anytime! 🙂

  4. SynthesistChronicles 8 June 2012 at 8:58 pm #

    I totally just had a nerd-gasm. That was an excellent and easily understood breakdown of the who / whom confusion. I will probably visit this post several more times in the future. Thanks!

  5. ourdachshundsophie 8 June 2012 at 9:17 pm #

    I was just thinking, I don’t know when to use whom and who, I need to look this up. Then I read this post. Thank you. Who=she, whom=her. I think I can remember that.

  6. journeyofjordannaeast 8 June 2012 at 9:29 pm #

    Omg I’m infected! Thank goodness for your generous dose of “who = she & whom = her” or I might never recover!!! How can I ever thank you?

  7. jayne ayres 9 June 2012 at 1:11 am #

    LOL – it’s a pandemic

  8. chuu2venge 9 June 2012 at 11:32 am #

    Ah, Grammar. I loved the class because of my teacher. She’s to blame for all my bizarre writing today.

  9. Carol 9 June 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    Okay now all I have to do is remember this. Remembering is the problem.

  10. sheena 11 June 2012 at 2:06 am #

    Wow ! Your blogs made life much more easier.

  11. Méloë 12 June 2012 at 1:02 pm #

    Oh my gosh, I’m so happy I found your blog. I have been trying to blog in English for a few weeks now, and I know that I do lots of mistakes since it’s not my native language. So your short notes on practical grammar points will undoubtedly help me a lot.

    As for the who/whom matter, I know that most of the time I simply forget that there is such a thing as “whom”. I swear I have never been taught that in 7 years of English classes in high-school. And it’s very difficult to get used to it now.

    So basically, thank you for your blog.

  12. bbilli02 19 June 2012 at 10:34 pm #

    Whom cares?

    • BernBabyBern 20 June 2012 at 8:45 am #

      I’m sure you know that it should be who cares

  13. mom305 21 June 2012 at 6:40 pm #

    Great post. Thank you 😉

  14. leekirs1 22 June 2012 at 1:02 pm #

    I appreciate any enlightenment on these weighty matters. I think I am still a bit confused. Whom always sounds so stuffy, but right is right. I will continue to study your blog because I need the help! Thank you!

  15. lasernurse 21 February 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    Wow! This is a life-changer! I’ve always been confused about when to use “whom.” Thank you for explaining this in such a clear and concise way! Cheers, Toni

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