Who vs. Whom: Common Mistakes in the Usage of Grammar

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The terms ‘who’ and ‘whom’ are commonly misused when writing or speaking. Who vs. whom is a common question when grammar is involved. The answer is fairly straightforward, but can still sometimes be a bit tricky to determine, depending upon the structure of your sentence.  Following are some tips to help you determine when to properly use ‘who’ and ‘whom’ when speaking or writing articles, letters, books or blogs.

Sometimes it is easy to determine the proper usage of ‘who’ and ‘whom’ in a sentence. Sometimes it is not so clear. The word ‘who’ is a subjective pronoun, where ‘whom’ is objective. In other words, ‘who’ should be used as the subject of a sentence, and ‘whom’ should be used as the object.

Let’s look at an example:
‘James is going to the store.’
James is the subject, therefore as a question, it would become ‘Who is going to the store?’

‘James is going to visit Cindy.’
James is the subject, but Cindy is the object of the sentence, therefore as a question, it would be ‘Whom is James going to visit?’

The most fool-proof way to determine the proper usage of ‘who’ and ‘whom’ is to substitute. When ‘he/she’ would be appropriate, choose ‘who.’ When ‘him/her’ would be appropriate, choose ‘whom’.

‘He is going to the store.’ ‘Who is going to the store?

‘James is going to visit her.’ ‘Whom is James going to visit?’

Substituting ‘who’ or ‘whoever’ for he/she and ‘whom’ or ‘whomever’ for him/her should help you to determine the correct usage of these commonly misused words.

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