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Word comparisons

Note 117 – The difference between ‘who’ and ‘whom’


Graham King in Collins Improve your Grammar explains that who is a subject pronoun and whom is an object pronoun.  Before looking at today’s examples, you must first remember the following:

  • Who must match similar subject pronouns: he/she/they 
  • Whom must match similar object pronouns: him/her/them

Here are some examples to illustrate what is meant by this:

EXAMPLE 1

Which one of the following is correct?

(a) Who is going to the park? Is she going to the park?
(b) Whom is going to the park? Is her is going to the park?

Explanation: In the second sentence in each example, I have substituted matching subject and object pronouns, e.g. she matches who (as mentioned in the introduction)By reading both (a) and (b), it it clear that sentence (a) is the correct one.

EXAMPLE 2

Which one of the following is correct?

(a) I don’t know who are going.  Are they going?
(b) I don’t know whom are going.  Are them going?

Explanation: In the second sentence in each example, I have substituted matching subject and object pronouns, e.g. them matches whom (as mentioned in the introduction)By reading both (a) and (b), it it clear that sentence (a) is the correct one.

Now a couple for you to try…

TEST 1

She isn’t going to be at the park.

Based on the above sentence, is (a) or (b) correct?:

(a) Who isn’t going to be in the park?
(b) Whom isn’t going to be in the park?

TEST 2

Please get in the car with her.

Based on the above sentence, is (a) or (b) correct?:

(a) Get in the car with who?
(b) Get in the car with whom?

The answers are the end of the blog.

Hope you enjoyed today’s blog. Don’t forget that you can subscribe to receive my daily blogs by email so that you don’t miss any. Just click ‘sign me up’ on the home page. Alternatively you can follow my blogs on Twitter @madeirasandra or my Tips and Luxuries Facebook page.

Until tomorrow…

Sandra

My writing challenge: http://wp.me/p1x6Ui-4

This blog: https://mywritingnotebook.wordpress.com

My other blog: http://sandramadeira.wordpress.com

My website: www.tipsandluxuries.com (includes the introduction to my upcoming book ‘A Gift for Stressed and Busy Parents’)

Twitter: @madeirasandra and @tipsandluxuries

Reference list:

Graham King The Collins Improve your Grammar, UK

Answers to test

Test 1 is (a) Who isn’t going to be in the park?

Test 2 is (b) Get in the car with whom?

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About Sandra Madeira

I am a full-time working mum with a passion for writing and inspiring others. Please let me know what you think of my blog - constructive comments welcome. Have a great day Sandra Freelance Writer www.sandramadeira.com

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