Many people, experienced writers included, are still confused when it comes to using the words ‘Who’ and ‘Whom’. Once you grasp the understanding of who vs whom, you will have no problem using these words correctly, whether when speaking or writing. Here are some methods you can use to identify and distinguish the difference between the two words.
Identifying the Subject and Object
To know when to use whom or who, first you must identify which one is the subject and the other is the object of the sentence. The word ‘who’ will be used as the subject while the word ‘whom’ is used as the object in the sentence.
Use He or Him
While many of us have trouble distinguishing between who and whom, we rarely have problem differentiating he and him. We can use the words ‘he’ and ‘him’ as a backup to check our usage of who and whom for the correct way. The word ‘he’ is linked to ‘who’ while the word ‘him’ is related to ‘whom’. For example, if you are wondering whether or not the question “Who do you like?” is correct, try to answer it using ‘he’ and ‘him’. In this case, the answer “I like him” is correct while “I like he” is wrong. Therefore, the correct question should be “Whom do you like?”.
Who Did What to Whom
If you find it hard to remember subjects, objects and simply find that going through the whole process of testing with ‘he’ and ‘him’ takes a long time, then remember this question, “Who did what to whom?” and use it whenever you need to clarify if your usage of ‘who’ and ‘whom’ is correct the next time you write or speak.
Many people are still using ‘who’ in spoken English during casual conversations. There is nothing wrong with using ‘who’ when you speak to people but using ‘whom’ will make you sound too formal for a casual chat and may cause others to think that you are either being a show-off or someone who is being formal.
Now that you already know the difference and the right way to use who vs whom, you can try practicing it in your writings to get used to it. As it has been a long time many of us have been using ‘who’ almost all the time, you may feel a little awkward using ‘whom’. Sooner or later, you will surely get used to it and it will come naturally in your writings.