|Grammatically Correct 8/03/04
A weekly grammar tip created by Academic Center Peer Writing Tutors.
University of Houston-Victoria
3007 N. Ben Wilson
Victoria, TX 77901
|Who versus Whom
by Shawn Brett
Who and whom are both pronouns that refer to people (they cannot refer to things), but a certain amount of grammatical analysis is required to use each appropriately. Who is a subjective pronoun, whereas whom is an objective pronoun.
When you begin a dependent clause with the pronoun who or whom, you determine the appropriate word by its function in the clause. When the pronoun acts as the subject of the clause, use who. When the pronoun acts as the object of the clause, use whom.
Ex: The prize goes to the runner who collects the most points.
Ex: The tutor to whom I was assigned was very supportive.
TIP: If you are not sure which to use, try separating the dependent clause from the rest of the sentence and looking at it by itself. Rewrite the clause as a new sentence by replacing the who or whom with a third person (he/she, him/her or them) personal pronoun. If the replacement pronoun is he/she/they, use who; if it is him/her/them, use whom.
Ex.: The dentist who does my teeth is certified in dental surgery as
Ex.: We need to know whom we can trust.
When you are deciding whether to use who or whom as the beginning to a question, it is easiest to consider the answer to the question. If the answer begins with he/she/they, use who to begin the question. If the answer begins with him/her/them, use whom.
Ex: Who is responsible for this evil deed?
Ex: Whom did you enter into the contract with?
NOTE: The rules above apply to the words “whoever” and “whomever” as
a pronoun that performs an action (who)
|Recommended Grammar Website of the Week
by David Felts
|Along with our own
we are recommending the following site: Purdue's
OWL (Online Writing Lab).
This comprehensive website
made by the Purdue University writing lab covers grammar, spelling, and
punctuation. It also has many helpful handouts and exercises to assist
you in reviewing.
Visit the OWL's selection of grammar handouts at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/grammar/.
|Test Your Knowledge
by Shawn Brett
|Test your understanding by correcting the following sentence.
1. Who does the car belong to?
Test your understanding by choosing the appropriate word in parenthesis.
2. (Who/Whom) was at the game last night?
3. Parents often transmit to their children ideas about (who/whom) to respect in society.
1. To whom does the car belong?
2. Who was at the game last night?
3. Parents often transmit to their children ideas about whom to respect in society.
Comments about this newsletter should be directed to Summer Leibensperger, firstname.lastname@example.org.