People who make grammatical errors drive me nuts. Or should I say, people whom make grammatical mistakes drive me nuts? How do you know when to say who and when to say whom?
The American Heritage Book of English Usage puts it like this: “Who is used for a grammatical subject, where a nominative pronoun such as I or he would be appropriate, and whom is used as the object of a verb or preposition.”
OK, great, but what the heck’s a nominative pronoun and what’s a preposition? Basically (and I had to look it up), a nominiative pronoun acts as the subject of a verb. For example, “Who put my underpants in the freezer?” Use the word “who” if you could swap “who” for pronouns like “I” or “she.”
Contrast that to the object of a verb, also known as a direct object. That’s when you use “whom.” An example of that would be: “You saw whom near the freezer, looking all suspicious?” Use “whom” if you can replace it with “him” or “her.” If a pronoun ends with the letter “m,” it’s an object.
The Yahoo! Style Guide puts it like this: “One trick for finding the correct form is to recast the sentence in your mind, substituting he and him for who or whom. If him sounds correct, use whom.” Keep this in mind as well: “Sometimes it’s better to just rewrite a sentence to avoid a potential grammatical error or a grammatically correct but awkward or formal-sounding construction.”
Thanks for reading,
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