Who vs. Whom: Rules & Examples

Instructor: Shelly Merrell

Shelly has a Master's of Education. Most recent professional experience is an educational diagnostician. Prior, she taught for 8 years.

When using proper grammar, many find the decision between using who versus whom very confusing. In this lesson, we will learn the rules on when to use who and when to use whom and some very helpful hints that will help to eliminate confusion.

Who Versus Whom

Do you get confused when deciding between who or whom? Does one sound right while the other sounds funny? You are not alone. When using proper grammar, it can be difficult to know when to use who or whom. Let's read on to find out a simple trick to know the difference.

  • Who is always the subject. The subject of a sentence is the person, place, thing, or idea that is doing or being something; the subject performs the action
  • Whom is always an object. The object of a sentence is the noun or pronoun that the subject does something to; the object is the receiver of the action

Let's Try It

  • (Who or Whom) threw the spider out of the house?

- The subject of the sentence is the one performing the action of throwing the spider out of the house, so the answer is who. Who threw the spider out of the house?

  • Bob threw (who or whom) out of the house?

- The subject of the sentence is Bob and he is throwing something out of the house. The object of this sentence is being thrown out of the house - it is receiving the action. So the answer is whom. Bob threw whom out of the house?

Now, that isn't so bad, is it? Well, I saved the best for last. Read on to find out a great trick to help make deciding between who versus whom even easier.

Trick

You can try out the simple substitution he/him test. Insert the word 'he' or 'him' into your sentence. Decide which one sounds appropriate. If 'he' sounds best, use 'who'. If 'him' sounds best, use 'whom'. Try it out!

  • (Who or whom) ate the last banana?

- 'He ate the last banana?' -Or- 'Him ate the last banana?' Which one sounds best? 'He ate the last banana' sounds best. The answer must be who! Who ate the last banana?

  • (Who or whom) did you invite to your birthday party?

- 'Did you invite he to your birthday party?' -Or- 'Did you invite him to your birthday party?' Which one sounds correct? Him sounds best! So the correct answer would be whom. Whom did you invite to your birthday party?

  • With (who or whom) are you going to the park?

- 'Are you going to the park with he?' -Or- 'Are you going to the park with him?' Which one is best? The use of him sounds most appropriate. 'With whom are you going to the park?' is correct.

More Examples

Here is what we have learned so far:

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support