Tuesday, February 12, 2013

He/Who; Him/Whom

The who/whom question is a tricky one. Part of it sounds easy--use who in the subjective position--when you are talking about the subject. Or use who any time you could use he--he/who.

Use whom in the objective position--when you are talking about any object (object of the preposition, direct object, indirect object, etc.). Or use whom any time you could use him--him/whom.

But the problem is a little bigger than that because you can't just take who out and substitute he and hear the correctness:

Is Ray the one who is coming to dinner?

Is Ray the one he is coming to dinner?

Actually, to tell whether you need to use who or whom, you have to do two steps, and the second step is rather laborious:

1. Remember the little trick from above:


2. Then reword the sentence so that you can answer the question with he or him--and use the who or whom that goes with your answer (he/who and him/whom).

I'm going to walk through several of these to help you because it takes a while to do this automatically and correctly:

1. She is the one who doesn't care.
      a. Who is the one who doesn't care?
      b. He is the one who doesn't care (not Him is the one...).
      c. So use WHO (He/Who)

2. It was that girl who stole the candy.
    a. Who stole the candy?
    b. He  stole the candy (not Him is the one...)
    c. So use WHO.(He/Who)

3. I have never seen anyone who could type that fast.
   a. Who could type that fast?
   b. He could type that fast (not Him could type that fast..)
   c. So use WHO (He/Who)

4. I just want whomever is the very best to win.
   a. Who do you want to win?
   b. I want him to win (not I want HE to win..)
  c. So use WHOM (Him/Whom)

5. We will be there at the door to greet whomever.

   a. Who will you greet at the door?
   b. You will greet him at the door (not greet HE at the door...)
   c. So use whomever (Him/Whom)

6. She should just tell whomever.
   a. Who should she tell?
   b. She should tell him.(not tell HE..)
   c. So use whomever (Him/Whom)

More tomorrow! 

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