Pronoun Case

Getting Who and Whom Choices Correct

For some reason, we often can't "hear" whether who or whom should be used in most situations. We can hear he and him and I and me and they and them quite easily, but who and whom are difficult. To solve the problem, rearrange a who/whom sentence and replace the who or whom with one of those words we can hear-he/him, they/them, I/me. If we choose a word with an -m in it (him, them, me), we know that whom is correct. If we choose a word without an -m (he, they, I), we know that who is correct. Here are the steps to this trick that we call the "M&M Rule" (because the -m in the words we can hear tells us whether who or whom is correct)

1. Delete the part of the sentence that comes before the who or whom:

• whoever/whomever asks for a copy of it.

2. Replace the who/whom or the whoever/whomever with he or him, with they or them, or with I or me:

• . . . he asks for a copy of it.

3. Read the part of the sentence that you haven't deleted (sometimes you'll have to rearrange it a bit before it makes sense as a sentence) and see whether an -m word or a non-m word sounds right. If an -m word sounds right, use whom in your original sentence. If a non-m word sounds right, use who in your original sentence.

For example, because:

• . . . he asks for a copy of it.

Sounds good to us, we know our original sentence should say:

• Send the report to whoever asks for a copy of it.

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