“Who” vs. “Whom”

It’s easy to get who and whom confused, but there is a very easy trick to remember the difference.

Whenever you are about to use who or whom in a sentence, try replacing it with he or him (or they or them), and then use the one that sounds right. 

Who is a nominative pronoun, and acts as the subject in a sentence or clause, while whom is an objective pronoun, and acts as the object in a sentence or clause. But for some reason it’s easier to remember that the same is true of he versus him or they versus them, and naturally choose the right one.

Just remember that the ones with the “m” on the end (whomhimthem) all are used the same way.

Consider:

“Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, is the character who always steals every scene.”

Note that he (or she, in this case) would sound right replacing the who, while him (or her, in this case) would sound wrong.

“Thomas Barrow, on the other hand, is the valet whom I love to hate.”

Note that here, “him I love to hate” works, while “he I love to hate” makes no sense.

It sounds very weird when you replace the word, but it works very well.

There’s an even more important strategy for who and whom on the SAT, ACT, and GMAT, and it’s very simple.

When these tests ask you to choose between who and whom, what answer do you think they expect a low-scoring student to choose? Not what you would think. They will expect that a low-scoring student will choose whom because they don’t know the rules for who and whom and so will choose whom because it sounds more “intellectual.”

Therefore, when in doubt on the SAT, ACT, or GMAT, choose who and you’ll likely get the answer correct.

Knowing proper grammatical style can help you in daily life, in your professional life, and on the SAT, ACT, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, and GRE. If you are planning to take any of these tests, contact Bobby Hood Test Prep for more information!