English Grammar

Difference between Who and Whom with comparison table

There is widespread confusion around the use of who and whom , both among students and among native speakers, in fact. This is because whom is considered extremely formal and is used less and less. Few English learning methods even incorporate it into their programs. However, it is important to consider that there are times when whom cannot be replaced by who , so it is recommended to know its uses to know when to use one and when to use the other. In this article we will provide you the difference between Who and Whom.

Comparison table

Definition and use as interrogative pronouns This is a question word . The words question are interrogative pronouns. Who means who and acts as a subject. Example:

Who brought that cake?
Jake did. 
Who brought the cake?
Jake did.

Who works as a subjective pronoun, it is who carries out the action in a sentence.

In case of questionswhom is rarely used because it sounds very formal and unnatural. However in formal situations, it works well. It is a pronoun with an object function. Whom could be said, means to whom. Example:

Whom is that cake for?
It is for Alex.
Who is that cake for?
It’s for Alex.

Whom , then, works as a way to find out who the action falls on.

Use as relative pronouns Who also works as a relative pronoun. That is, it serves to join two clauses in a sentence. Example:

That man, who was known for being nice as could be, suddenly became a mean man.
That man, who was known to be very kind, suddenly turned into a bad person.

In the same way, whom can function as a relative pronoun. Example:

That woman, whom we met at the gala, will be at Susan’s party as well.
The woman we met at the gala will also be at Susan’s party.

Mandatory uses A tip to know if you should use who or whom in a specific case, is to try to answer the question with he or with him . If answered with he , then who is used. If, on the contrary, it is answered with him , then it corresponds to use whom . On the other hand, whom should be used whenever quantifying words precede it, such as both of, few of, many of, several of, all of , etc. Example:

The auditorium accomodates up to 50,000 spectators, all of whom are seated.
The auditorium has capacity for up to 50,000 spectators, all with space to sit.


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