Breadcrumbs

Who or whom

Video: Grammar Girl: How to figure out 'who' vs. 'whom' by Mignon Fogarty hosted by ragan (new tab). (Watching time: 2m:30secs)

Complete the quiz items below to see if you have understood this lesson. Then click the blue arrow at the bottom of the page to check your answers.

Instructions: Hover or tap the questions below to see the reason for the answers given in the quiz.

1. Is the use of who/whom in the following questions acceptable (according to strict grammar rules)?

1. Whom took the last cookie? Acceptable: Yes ❍   No ❍
2. Who do I have to pick up from the airport? Yes ❍ No ❍
3. I've got one extra concert ticket. To who should I give it? Yes ❍ No ❍

1. Whom took the last cookie? who
2. Whom do I have to pick up from the airport?
3.I've got one extra concert ticket. To who should I give it? whom
Why: 1. The first question can be answered with "He took the cookie". If it can be answered with "he or she" then the question pronoun should be "who ..."
2. If you can answer the question with "him" then "whom" is the correct question pronoun.
3. You would answer this question with "to him" or "to her", meaning that the question pronoun should be "to whom?"

2. The sentence fragment below has been provided with two possible endings. Select the most appropriate ending to use in a formal academic essay.
Property owners have to be very careful when selecting the individuals ...
❍ 1. to whom they intend to leave their estates.
❍ 2. who they intend to leave their estates to.

#1 to whom
Why: There are two problems with #2. Firstly, the pronoun (strictly speaking) should be whom (it can be replaced with "him" or "her"), and secondly, it has the "to" at the end of the sentence, which is not formal language.

3. Type the word into the text box that correctly finishes the sentence below.
Usually we keep this door locked. Please tell us _____ let you in.
Is it who or whom?

who
Why: You would never say *Him let me in *. You would say "He let me in". The question pronoun that corresponds with he or she is who.