Who vs Whom: Difference between Them and How to correctly use them

The pronouns “who” and “whom” are the most commonly used examples of the “to be” verb. The pronoun “who” is employed in a special way since it functions as the subject or object of a verb in questions when asking what someone’s name is or which person or persons are being referred to. It is being used when a speaker or writer wants to convey the idea that something is unknown. They are able to use the pronoun “who” in conjunction with verbs that refer to being known. Furthermore, the pronoun “who” is employed as the subject or object of a verb to indicate who the speaker or writer is referring to or to offer information about a person who has already been mentioned. It is not utilized for objects, but rather for people. Meanwhile, the pronoun “whom” is utilized when the action of the verb or preposition requires an object. Furthermore, the pronoun “whom” is used when referring to a specific individual or when imparting details about a person who has just been addressed when it follows a preposition. It serves as the object of a verb, or both of these roles. Moreover, the word “whom” is frequently employed in queries, particularly when serving as the object of a verb or coming after a preposition. An example of that is when inquiring about which person or persons are being referred to or what the name of a particular individual is.

The differences and comparisons for “who” and “whom” are listed below.

  • “Who” is the word to employ when inquiring or asking an inquiry.
  • “Who” is appropriate to ask when the answer is an objective pronoun.
  • “Who” is used to convey additional information about that person or those people when a person has been named before in the phrase.  
  • “Who” is used as an interrogative form and is used to refer to persons.
  •  “Who” is used to refer to both human beings and non-human things that the speaker feels some level of affection toward.
  • “Whom” is the appropriate choice of word when referring to the target of a verb or a preposition, the word.
  • “Whom” is used when referring to a subject, the word.
  • “Whom” is used when anything is the recipient of an action.
  • “Whom” is the one that is most commonly used when following a preposition, the word.
  • “Whom” refers to the solitary person. The word “whom” does not have a plural form.

It is important to remember that the pronouns “who” and “whom” must be used to refer to the subject of the sentence and the object of a verb or preposition, respectively. It is appropriate to use the pronoun “who” when referring to the person that is carrying out the activity. Meanwhile, the pronoun “whom” must be used when referring to the person or thing that is receiving the action. However, the rule is particularly unclear in two situations: when it is applied at the beginning of a question and when it is applied while introducing a dependent clause. Make sure to use “who” if the questions have subject pronoun answers (he, she, it, or they) to understand the situation of the sentence. On the other hand, the pronoun “whom” must be used whenever the questions have an objective pronoun as an answer (him, her, or them). On the other hand, when introducing a dependent clause, use “who” if the pronoun is a subject and ”whom” if the pronoun is an object, and only within the clause itself (not the whole sentence). 

What does “who” Mean?

The word “who” is often used in conversations. It is a function word that is used to introduce a relative phrase, particularly when speaking with regard to individuals, organizations, or animals. However, it is possible to introduce an inanimate item, particularly if the reader is led to believe that the reference is actually to a human being. The word “who” comes from an Old English term that means “what; anyone, someone, each; whosoever.” Its origin and etymology are traced back to the Old English word. Another theory suggests that the word “who” derives from the Proto-Germanic word hwaʀ, which in turn derives from the Proto-Germanic word *hwaz, which in turn derives from the Proto-Indo-European word *k*os, *k*is. One uses “who” in place of a noun when referring to a topic. Since the word “who” is an integral element of the verb “to be,” its first documented use dates back to the Middle English period (1300) and continues right up to the present day. The introduction of the printing press coincided with the beginning of people using the word “who.” The English language frequently makes use of the verb “to be,” notably in conjunction with the word “who.” It quickly becomes an essential component of everyone’s lives since it is an integral part of the process by which one communicates with another.

What are the sentence examples with “who”?

Listed below are some example sentences using the word “who.”

  • Recently, he was visited by a good friend of his who was living in London at the time.
  • It was a mansion brimming with individuals who were not related to him.
  • It was she who had been the one to shove him back into the situation.
  • It appears that Señora Fernandez had two children who disowned their mother.
  • He was a man of few words who expressed himself with a profound depth of feeling.

When to use the word “who” in a sentence?

The word “who” must never be used in any other context than to refer to the subject of the phrase or, more specifically, the actor in the scene. Use the word “who” when the subject of the sentence normally needs a subject pronoun like “he” or “she.” “which” is one of the words that is used interchangeably with “who.” The term “which” must be used in the context of sentences that do not define anything. The word “which” is used as a determiner and an interrogative pronoun in the questions that are being asked to ask for particular information. It is reasonable to see the word “who” in questions and sentences that contain relative clauses if writers are aware that “who” is the subject of a clause and that it is likely to appear in such questions and sentences. The word “who” does double duty by answering questions about a noun as well as posing new ones that seek additional information.

Which word should you use as a replacement when using “who” in a sentence?

The term “that,” which refers to people, is the most appropriate substitute for “who” in a phrase. On the other hand, one must only speak to people casually while using the word ”that.” Its initial purpose was to be used for things. The term ”that” is used quite frequently in both spoken and written communication. It is being utilized as a defining factor, a descriptive pronoun, and a relative pronoun. Moreover, speakers and writers frequently utilize the word “that” as a conjunction to bring “that-clauses” into their sentences. The word “that” is typically utilized to direct attention to a specific thing or person. It is used with singular nouns in the context. However, when a person uses the word “that,” the thing or person being referred to is typically located at a greater distance from the speaker than it is from the listener, or it is not accessible to either the speaker or the listener.

What is the difference between “who” and “Whom?

The words “who” and “whom” are two words that are hard to understand, even for people who speak English as their first language. The pronoun “who” is a subject pronoun, whereas the pronoun “whom” is an objective pronoun. It is their primary distinction between the phrases “who” and “whom.” It simply indicates that the pronoun “who” is always functioning as the subject of a verb in a sentence, whereas the pronoun “whom” is always functioning as the object in a sentence. The subject pronoun is the person or thing that performs an action, whereas the objective pronoun is the person or thing that is affected by the action. Moreover, the subject of a sentence must be referred to by using the word “who” whenever necessary. Meanwhile, writers must correspond to the object of a verb or preposition whenever employing the pronoun “whom.” However, everyone who speaks or writes must exercise caution while utilizing whom because there is an exception to the rule. It is imperative that writers and speakers always use “whom” following a preposition at the start of a sentence or clause. An example of using the term, while asking “To whom did you write that letter?,” not to “who.” Another example is, “My instructor, for whom I’m conducting some research, is now out of town.” Note that the pronoun “who” is eliminated from the sentence. There are a few different words that are used in place of “who” and “whom,” however both of these terms must be replaced by the equivalent synonyms “which” and “that.” On the other hand, writers must never use the word “which” to refer to people; rather, they must use the word “that,” which is used to refer to both objects and people. 

What does “whom” Mean?

The formal English word “whom” is used in place of “who” when an object pronoun (rather than a subject pronoun like “he” or “she”) is being referred to in the sentence. The writer must use the word “whom” after specific terms, especially verbs and adjectives, in order to initiate a clause in which a writer discusses the name or identity of a person or group of individuals. On the other hand, when specifying the person or group of individuals a writer is talking about, or when providing extra information regarding them for a pronoun, use “whom” at the beginning of the relative phrase. The word “whom” is derived from the Middle English words whom, wham, and whem, which in turn come from the Old English words hwm and hwm, which in turn come from the Proto-Germanic *hwammai, the dative case of *hwaz (“who, what”). Cognate with Scots quhom, quham, and quhem (which all mean “whom”), German wem (which means “whom”), Danish hvem (which means “who, whom”), and Swedish vem (which means ”who, whom”). It is common knowledge that the term “whom” was not in use before the 12th century when it was first documented. On top of that, the term “whom” is a word that is used frequently in the English language. Its widespread use to refer to people in formal styles of speech and writing, when the person being referred to is the object of the verb, contributed to its rise to prominence. Everyone’s life was impacted by the significance of the term “whom,” but writers were particularly impacted. The word “whom” is used infrequently in spoken speech, although its use is more prevalent in written communication.

What are the sentence examples with “whom”?

Listed below are some example sentences using the word “whom.”

  • He knew very little about the woman to whom he had committed to spending the winter after having made the vow to do so.
  • It doesn’t matter to him whom she betrayed him to; he doesn’t care.
  • She was acquainted with a woman whom was featured on one of the billboards, and she went to see her in the evenings.
  • Everyone whom they saw praised his knowledge.
  • They are similar to wolves whom they satisfy with nothing except flesh.

When to use the word “whom” in a sentence?

“Who” and “whom” are frequently interchanged yet have distinct meanings as relative pronouns. The relative pronouns connect one clause to the next by relating to a noun that was discussed earlier and providing further information about it. They are sometimes used to link one sentence to the next. A set of words that are related to one another and contain a subject and a verb is called a clause. Further to that, the word “who” is utilized when further information regarding a person or people who have been mentioned previously in a sentence is required. It is a pronoun that is used subjectively. A pronoun (such as “I,” “me,” “he,” “she,” etc.) that functions as the subject of the sentence is referred to as a subjective pronoun. The subject of the phrase is replaced by the question word “who.” Meanwhile, the term “whom” is an objective pronoun that is utilized in the official use of the English language. It is acting in the role of an object for the verb or preposition that is being utilized. The object of the sentence ought to be changed to “whom” in the sentence. Consider the phrase “to whom” when identifying the subject of a sentence. The person, location, or thing that is the target of the action is referred to as the object.

Which pronoun should you use as a replacement when using “whom” in a sentence?

The use of the formal pronoun “whom” is appropriate when using appropriate language. The pronoun “that” is the most natural choice to make when looking for a replacement for the word ”whom.” A term that is used in place of a noun or a series of noun phrases is called a pronoun. It is a particular kind of word that takes the place of a noun. The word “that” is contained in the relative pronouns which only contain the phrases “that,” “which,” and “who,” as well as its alter-ego “whom.” These words perform the functions of a variety of grammatical categories depending on the context of the sentence in which they are found.

What are the synonyms of “whom”?

The term “whom” is replaceable with a variety of other words. The terms “that” and “which” are two appropriate alternatives to use while talking about “whom.” It is common practice to use the word “that” when referring to a particular thing, item, person, condition, etc. The term ”which,” on the other hand, is used to provide further information about things, people, circumstances, and so on. Commas are typically placed before “which” and at the end of the clause to separate them from the remainder of the sentence since the word “which” denotes a non-restrictive or optional clause. Some examples of replacing the word “whom” with the synonym ”that” are the following; “Do you recall the title of the song that (whom) Jane suggested to us?” ”Do you recall the name of the movie that (whom) Tom suggested to us?” Additionally, there is not a single alternative form of the word “whom.”

How is the pronunciation of “who” and “Whom

The words “who” and “whom” are pronounced with a h. Included in the “wh” spelling are words whose “h” sounds like a “h,” with the “w” being dropped. Words with “wh” in the spelling tend to be pronounced in a variety of ways. For example, the long “o” sound that follows “who” and “whom” is the reason those words are pronounced with a single “h” sound.

Comparison between “who” and “whom”

Listed below is the table that shows the comparison between the words “who” and “whom.”

The English WordsDefinitionContextExample Sentences
WhoThe word “who” is used as an interrogative.It is a function word that is used to start a relative phrase, particularly when talking about people, organizations, or animals.Who is paying for the lunch? 

His attention shifted to Jane, who was still sleeping.
WhomThe word “whom” is used as the subject of a verb or is the complement of a verb that links two sentences.It is a function word that is used to introduce a relative phrase, particularly when speaking in regard to individuals, organizations, or animals.Two American soldiers ran fast, one of whom carried a loaded gun. 

See whom she looks like!

Why are “who” and “whom” misused and interchangeably in English?

One of the most common issues that authors come across is a confusion between the words “who” and “whom.” There are no issues with the pronunciation, spelling, or typing of the terms “who” and “whom.” These terms are frequently misinterpreted and used interchangeably in English due to their pronunciation and spelling. Sometimes writers are unable to understand how these verbs must be used in their work. Writers, on the other hand, need to be able to understand the differences between the two meanings in order to avoid causing confusion. The word “who” is utilized in a variety of contexts, including as the subject of a verb or the complement of a connecting verb. It’s the nominative form of the pronoun. Meanwhile, the word “whom” is utilized in two different ways: either as the object of the verb or as the object of a preposition. Every particular pronoun is an objective form. One strategy for remembering when to use these verbs is to substitute the appropriate pronouns for the question terms. Use “who” if the pronoun is replaceable with “he.” On the other hand, if the pronoun is replaceable with “he,” then use “whom.”

Are “who” and “whom” in the most commonly misused English words?

Yes, the English words “who” and “whom” are among those that are misused the most frequently in the language. Writers frequently get confused about the difference between the two uses of these words and use them interchangeably. The words “who” and “whom” are misused in English words because, for the most part, people use them informally, whether in conversation or when producing text. Thus, it leads to the words being used wrongly. Many people who use the internet, write, or speak English have become accustomed to the modifications and have adopted them as a habit. However, in order to stay error-free, particularly in content writing, they need to keep a few things in mind and make sure to use them when they write. They need to keep in mind that the word “who” refers to the person who performs the action, whereas the word “whom” refers to the person who receives the action.

What are the other similar Misused Word Pairs like “whom” and “who” in English?

Listed below are the similar misused word pairs like the words ‘“who” and “who” in English. 

  • “Accept” vs. Except”: The phrases “accept” and “except” is frequently misused in the same way that the English words “who” and “whom” are. They are comparable to the words “who” and “whom” because these words only differ from their spellings. Their pronunciation sounds identical, however, they provide different meanings. The meaning of “accept” means to agree,” “to receive,” or “to consent to accomplish something.” Meanwhile, the word “except” indicates to exclude or omit from consideration.
  • “Advice” vs. “Advise”: The misuse of the words “who” and “whom” in English is similar to the misuse of the words “advice”  and “advise.  They are comparable to the words “who” and “whom” in the sense that both “who” and “whom” have distinct roles and meanings when it comes to the construction of a sentence. The term “advise” refers to the act of making recommendations, whereas the term “advise” refers to the specific recommendation that is provided.
  • “Aloud” vs. “Allowed”:  The phrases “aloud” and “allowed” are frequently misused in the same way that the English words “who” and “whom” are. They are similar to the words “who” and “whom” because these words are under homophones, which consist of similarities in pronunciation, and slight differences in spellings, but far different in meanings. The term ”aloud” is another way of saying “out loud.” On the other hand, to “allow” someone to do something signifies providing that person permission to carry out that activity.
  • “Desert” vs. “Dessert”: The misuse word pair like “who” and “whom” in the English language is similar to the misuse words “who” and “whom.” They are comparable to the words “who” and “whom” in the sense that both “who” and “whom” have diverse roles and connotations when it comes to the construction of a sentence. The word “desert” is a noun that refers to a dry, arid geological feature. It is occasionally referred to as giving up on something or walking away from it. Meanwhile, a sweet treat that is served after the main course is referred to as “dessert.”
  • “Principal” vs. “Principle”: The usage of the words “principal” and “principle” is similar to the misused word pair like “who” and “whom. These words have almost identical pronunciation, yet they provide different definitions and meanings when it comes to formulating sentences. The word “principal” refers to the person in charge of a school; nevertheless, it is sometimes used to refer to something significant or the amount of money that was initially borrowed. On the other hand, a “principle” is a fundamental norm or belief, and the word itself refers to either of these.

What are the things should a content writer consider in using the word ​​“who” and “whom”?

Writers must be careful about how they use the words “who” and “whom.” The first thing to take into consideration is the typical piece of advice that is given for remembering whether to use “who” or “whom.” The piece of advice is that writers must use the word “who” if they are able to replace the word “he” or “she” or “another subject pronoun.” Use the word “whom” instead of “he” or “here” or any other object pronoun if it is replaceable with the pronoun. Finding every instance of the verb in the sentence is something else that must be taken into consideration. Locating the topic that is associated with each of the verbs. The “who” term refers to the person who carries out the activity. Meanwhile, the word “whom” refers to the one who is the recipient of the action.

Can content writers use “who” and “whom” in one sentence?

No, content writers are not able to use the words “who” and “whom” in the same sentence. The usage of both of these in the same sentence results in grammatical errors and the meaning of the sentence is obscured. The readers won’t be able to comprehend the meaning of the statement since they won’t be able to make sense of how it’s formed, which leaves them feeling puzzled. Additionally, on top of that, the word “who” is the one that is employed in a sentence more frequently than the other two. It is for the main reason that it is not just used in the process of composing an article or producing material, such as narrative work, particularly in the form of fiction; rather, it is used in the day-to-day lives of people. It eventually turned into a regular occurrence for people to either supply information or pose queries.

How do Content Writers use “who” and “whom” in their articles?

It is usual practice to utilize the words “who” and “whom” when writing. The content writer used the word “who” to fulfil the roles of both the words “that” and “which” in content writing. Additionally, it is being used in question form. The word “who” is preferable to the phrase “that is” when introducing either restrictive or nonrestrictive aspects that describe individuals in content writing. Further to that, content writers’ materials reserve the usage of the term “who” exclusively for referring to human subjects. The use of the term “who” makes it easier for the reader to avoid being confused. Meanwhile, the usage of “whom” as an objective pronoun is becoming increasingly common. As they were composing the text, in other words, they used the word “whom” to refer to the person who is affected by the action. These are used to generate a dialogue, a narrative, and an entirely new interpretation of the message that is being conveyed by the content.

Do Content Writers use “who” and “whom” in a wrong way?

No, professional content writers are not oblivious to the distinction between “who” and “whom” in a variety of contexts. On the other hand, those individuals who are just starting out in the field of content creation stand an increased risk of misunderstanding these words. In addition to that, a writer, whether they are just starting out or are seasoned veterans, must be able to comprehend the various ways that these phrases must be used. They are better able to write high-quality articles and acquire the trust of their readers if they use these words correctly. Moreover, in order to prevent the inappropriate utilization of these words in the future, it is recommended that a proofreading procedure be carried out in order to rectify the issue.

Do Misused Words such as “whom” and “who” affect SEO and UX?

Yes, the incorrect usage of words like “who” and “whom” has a significant negative influence on search engine optimization (SEO) as well as the user experience (UX). They do play a role in search engine optimization. It is a factor that impacts trust. Users lose trust in the firm if it consistently produces content with poor grammar and spelling, and the company is not able to rank as highly. The incorrect use of terms has a negative impact on the reputation of the brand as well as the trustworthiness of the website, and it has an effect on how users and search engines view the material. More crucially, errors in grammar have an impact on SEO since the relevance of a website is increasingly determined by the purpose of its users and more specifically by the terms that are used in searches.

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Who vs Whom: Difference between Them and How to correctly use them

by Holistic SEO time to read: 17 min