In our rush to produce error-free English text, we sometimes end up making big mistakes that we truly believe are more upscale and correct.

For example…

I wanted to know who she was dating.

Should be: I wanted to know whom she was dating.

Or we often see a sentence like this:

Either Mark or Jill is the one whom will be chosen for the trip.

Should be: Either Mark or Jill is the one who will be chosen for the trip.

“Who” is the subject

“Who wants this?”
“Who told you?”
“I asked her to tell me who wanted out.”
“We were shocked when we learned who had dated whom as teenagers.”

“Whom” is the object

“To whom does this purse belong?” (or “Who is the owner of this purse?”)
“For whom does the bell toll?”
“The one on whom the curse falls will turn scarlet.”

“Who” and “whoever” follow the same rules

“Whoever wants to take the third floor, please raise your hand.”

“Whom”and “whomever” follow the same rules

“I will give the thousand dollars to whomever I choose.”

Another quick way to check your use is to ask, Would the word “he” work better than “him” in this case? If it would, then use “who” or, if you want to include everyone, “whoever.” If “him works” better, use “whom” or “whomever.”

Look for the words “who” and “whom” in your reading. Once in a while you’ll find a mistake. In spoken English  errors using “who” or “whom” are more common, with “who” taking first prize for being used incorrectly.

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