Are you one of the many people confused by when to use who or whom? If so, you are not alone. Do you pause to think about whether or not you should be saying, "It is the early bird who gets the worm?" Or "It is the early bird whom gets the worm?" If you have problems figuring out when to use which pronoun, perhaps this post will help you.
- It is important to first look at the clause associated with who or whom. If there is only one clause, that makes it easier to find the right word. However, there is often an independent clause and one or more dependent clauses in a sentence.
- Look at the question and mix the words around to create a sentence.
- In place of the word who or whom, insert the word he or him. If he makes sense, you would use the word who. If him makes more sense, then you would use whom. (The "m" in whom/him can help you remember the connection.)
- If you have a linking verb rather than an action verb, you would use he (who) and not him (whom).
Here are some examples:
- Who rang the doorbell? ( No scrambling is necessary, as you can easily substitute the word he for who and create an appropriate sentence.)
- Whom did you visit in Phoenix? ( If you scramble this question to form a sentence, you will find that him makes sense, so whom is correct.)
- Stephanie wondered whom Melissa would ask to the dance. (This one is a bit trickier. However, looking at it in the following way makes it easy to understand: Melissa would ask him to the dance. Therefore, whom is correct.)