Words Students Confuse: who or whom?

ScottsEnglishScottsEnglish Administrator Posts: 1,093 admin ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
edited July 4 in Grammar

Students regularly confuse the two relative pronouns who and whom.

Both who and whom are used to replace a person in a clause. For example, take these two sentences:

The man is wearing a blue shirt.
The man is my boss.

It is better to avoid the repetition of "the man" and instead to say or to write, "The man who is wearing the blue shirt is my boss."

Now, take these two sentences:

I see a woman at the window.
The woman is selling tickets.

Again, to avoid repeating the words "the woman", we can say or write, "The woman whom I see at the window is selling tickets.

What is the difference?

In the first sentence, "the man" is the subject, and so is replaced by the subject pronoun who. In the second sentence, "the woman" is the direct object (I see a woman) so she is replaced by the object pronoun who.

Choose who or whom in the following sentences.

1. The basketball player _________________ plays on the local team will be signing autographs today.
2. This is the audience to ___________________ you will give the concert tonight.
3. Mom is the one __________________ knows where to put the sheets when they are dry.
4. Are you sure that this is the boy ___________________ you met yesterday?
5. He is someone ____________________ I've known since my university years.

Click here for the correct answers.

1. The basketball player who plays on the local team will be signing autographs today.
2. This is the audience to whom you will give the concert tonight.
3. Mom is the one who knows where to put the sheets when they are dry.
4. Are you sure that this is the boy whom you met yesterday?
5. He is someone whom I've known since my university years.

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