Thursday Thought: Whom vs Who

by - July 30, 2009

“If the English language made any sense, lackadaisical would have something to do with a shortage of flowers.” ~Doug Larson

Maybe it's just me but I still don't get why the words whom, whomever and whomsoever exist.

Rule: Use the she/her method (or he/him) to decide which word is correct. That is, replace the who or whom with she and see if it makes grammatical sense.
Choose who if the personal pronoun is in the subjective case (= I, we, he, she, it, they).
Chose whom if the personal pronoun is in the objective case (= me, us, him, her, them).

So which is correct? "Who/whom should I say is calling?"

Rule doesn't matter, I still get it wrong at least half the time. The score from my Blue Book Quiz was 5/10 & I just took it today!

What's your score? Take the Who, Whom, Whoever, Whomever Quiz!

From Grammer Goddess Seminars: Who / whom should I say is calling? Many people
mistakenly say, "Whom should I say is calling?"

By rewriting it slightly, you can see it should be who. It could be either, "Should I say he /him is calling?" or "I should say he / him is calling." In either case, he fits, so you use who, the subject of the verb is calling. The correct sentence is, "Who should I say is calling?"

Who / whom did you go with? Most of us would use who. But by rewriting it slightly, it's easy to see that it has to be whom. "Did you go with he / him?" So the real sentence is, "Whom did you go with?" You could also say/write, "With whom did you go?"

Okay, so the above helped me figure out a way to select the correct word to use, but seriously, I still think it would have been easier to just not include whom, whomever and whomsoever in the English Language.

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  1. Whom are you trying to reach with this post. I am one of those whom usually get it wrong, but I do have an excuse because I haven't had enough English as first language courses.

    An Arkies Musings

  2. Great post! I often have to rewrite sentences just to avoid any of these types of issues.