Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody. My name is Alisha. In this lesson, I'm going to talk about the difference between “who” and “whom,” two commonly confused words. Let's find out how to use them and a few hints for how you can decide which is the correct word to use in a sentence.
Let's begin with the word, “who.” We use the word, “who” when we refer to the subject of a sentence. Let's look at a couple of examples here in red. I have, “Who is he?” “Who stole my drink?” and “Who is using my computer?” So, I have a few questions here. In this set of examples, “who” is used to refer to the subject of the sentence. So, each one serves as the subject here. And, we can answer these questions with a simple reply. So, “Who is he?” We could say, “He is my friend.” “Who stole my drink?” We could say, “She stole your drink.” “Who is using my computer?” “He is using your computer.” So, here again, we have “he,” “she” and “he” as the answers for these questions. I'll come back to this point in just a moment.
For now, though, let's contrast this point with “whom,” when we use “whom.” We use “whom” to refer to the object of a verb or a preposition. Let's look at a couple examples here. “Whom should I speak to regarding this inquiry?” “Whom does this book belong to?” “To whom do I submit my report?” On each of these sentences, “whom” serves not as the subject of the sentence but as the object of a verb or a preposition here. Again, I have a couple of example answers for this point. Here I have, for this first example, “Whom should I speak to regarding this inquiry?” The answer could be something like, “You should speak to him.” For the second one, “Whom does this book belong to?” “This book belongs to her.” “To whom do I submit my report?” We can answer with, “Submit your report to him.”
The reason that I've included these example answers is because these can give you a really good hint for how to decide whether you should use “who” or “whom.” I have up here this hint. The first hint really is to try substituting “he” or “she” and “her” or “him” in your original sentence. For example, in this sentence, “Who is he?” or “Who stole my drink?” or “Who is using my computer?” If I substitute “he” or “she” in one of these sentences, for example here, “He is using my computer,” or “She is using my computer,” the sentence is correct grammatically. That means I can use “who” and that's the correct choice. Again, “Who stole my drink?” “She stole my drink,” or “He stole my drink.” The sentence is grammatically correct. So, I should use “who.”
However, down here, if I say, “He should I speak to regarding this inquiry,” or “To he…,” for example, these don't make grammatically correct statements so we can't use “he” or “she” here. Though, these questions get a little bit more complicated. These sentences, it might be a little bit difficult to decide than, “Am I using ‘he’ or ‘she?’” “Should I use ‘him’ or ‘her?’” It's not so clear. In those cases, where you're not clear, again, using the original sentence, we can take a look at the answer for the sentence. So, try to make a sample answer for the question. If you can answer the question using “he” or “she,” as I've done here, “he,” “she” and “he,” you should use the word, “who.” If you can answer it with “her” or “him,” use “whom.”
Down here, “You should speak to him,” “This book belongs to her,” “Submit your report to him.” If you look at the answer for the question or a sample answer for the question and you use “him” or “her” in the answer, you should use “whom.” If you look at a sample answer and you use “he” or “she” in the answer, you should use “who.” This can be a really helpful tip to decide whether you should use “who” or “whom.” If it's difficult to remember, you can kind of think about focusing in on the word, “him” because him ends in an “m” sound just like “whom” ends in an “m” sound. So, if you kind of remember in your brain, “whom” matches with “him,” sort of. So, those “m” sounds. “Her” and “him,” therefore, make a pair. If you have trouble remembering between “he” and “she,” and “her” and “him,” you can use that “m” rule to remember that the “m” sound in “him” fits with “whom.”
Just one other point about use of “who” and “whom,” typically, at least, in American English, we tend to use “who” more often in everyday speech. Not as many native speakers are so like strict about their use of “whom” in everyday conversation. Of course, some people are, for sure. But if you focus too much on using “who” and “whom” correctly in your speech, you might come off--you might sound a little bit pretentious to some people. Again, it depends on the kind of people you're speaking with but in general casual conversations, most people, or I should say, many people just use “who” in almost every sentence. Even if “whom” is probably grammatically correct, we tend to rely more on “who” in casual speech. You will find the native speakers technically do make mistakes with this. I'm sure I do as well. So, I would say don't be too concerned about always getting the difference between these two correct, especially in speech. If, however, you're writing something formal or if you're making a formal presentation, it might be a good idea to consider this. Just for your reference, these are rather a couple of examples and a couple of ways that you can try to decide which of these words to use. I hope that this was helpful for you. Of course, if you have any questions, please let us know in the comment section below this video. Thanks very much for watching this episode and I will see you again soon. Bye, bye.

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EnglishClass101.com
Tuesday at 6:30 pm
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EnglishClass101.com
Monday at 12:25 pm
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Hello Luis,


Thank you so much for your post and I hope you are enjoying studying with us.


"To whom do I speak to about new work?" is probably too formal to say. A more commonly heard way of asking this would be, "Who should I speak to about new work?" or "Who is the best person to speak to about work opportunities?"


I hope this is helpful to you.


Cheers,


Eva

EnglishClass101.com

Luis Cristancho
Sunday at 10:30 pm
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Can I say: "To Whom do I speak about new work?"

EnglishClass101.com
Thursday at 7:34 pm
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Hi Saam,


Thank you for your positive feedback!


Let us know if you have any questions.


Sincerely,

Cristiane

Team EnglishClass101.com

Saam
Thursday at 2:37 am
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Thank you its useful