who vs whom grammar rule

Who vs Whom is another confounding grammatical rule. To help understand how we can use ‘who’ and ‘whom’ correctly, here are 3 simple rules.


Subject vs Object

‘Who’ is used to refer to a subject in a sentence

The Subject in the sentence is a ‘Do-er’.

Whom is used to refer to an object in a sentence

Object in the sentence is a “Receiver’ of the action.

Examples

The teacher reprimanded the boy after school.

The teacher is the subject (do-er) and the boy is the object (receiver).

This is the boy whom the teacher reprimanded after school.

The boy (object) is the receiver of the reprimand so we use ‘whom’.

This is the teacher who reprimanded the boy.

The teacher (subject) is reprimanding the boy so we use ‘who’.


Look at the word after the blank

If the word is a verb, usually we use ‘who’.

Examples

This is the boy _____________ bullied May. (who)

If the word after the blank is a pronoun, usually we use ‘whom’

The boy ___________ May spoke to is a bully. (whom)


Whom is used after a preposition

Examples

With whom did you go to the movies?

To whom did you give the book?

My three sisters, one of whom is a teacher, works at Katong Primary School.

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