Getting it Right!

Tips

#72

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It is very important to know the difference between who and whom when making questions. These two question words can be confusing to most students since they are similar in form. However, they are used differently according to the person. You will need to see if the person is at the beginning or at the end of a sentence. So, read this very useful Georgal Tip to get these two question words right!

Who? vs. Whom?

Use who when asking about: I, you, he, she, we, they. These words are used at the beginning of a sentence.
Examples:
  1. Q: Who is the new English teacher?
    A: He is Mr. Jiménez.
  2. Q: Who are the people in the picture?
    A: They are my best friends.
Use whom when asking about: me, you, him, her, us, them. These words are used at the end of a sentence.
Examples:
  1. Q: Whom is she talking to?
    A: She is talking to him.
  2. Q: Whom are they taking class with?
    A: They are taking class with her (Mrs. Pérez).

Useful to know!

Who is often followed by: ‘is’, ‘are’, ‘was’, ‘were’.

Examples:

  • Who was at the meeting yesterday?
  • Who are your new students?
  • Who is your favorite singer?

 

These prepositions: ‘to’, ‘by’, ‘with’ and ‘from’ often come before Whom.

Examples:

  • To whom will you send this email?
  • By whom is she standing in the picture?
  • With whom will she go to the movies?
  • From whom is your e-birthday card?

EXERCISE

DIRECTIONS: Choose the correct option to complete each dialogue.

Q: _____ is the founder of Microsoft?
A: _____ (Bill Gates) is the founder of Microsoft.
a.  Whom/Him b. Who/He

DIRECTIONS: Choose the correct option to complete each dialogue.

*Note: A misspelled word counts as incorrect.

ANSWER KEY

  1. Q: Who is Brad Pitt?
    A: He is a famous American actor.
  1. Q: Who made the cake? It’s delicious!
    A: She made the cake.
  1. Q: With whom do they live?
    A: They live with them (their parents).
  1. Q: Whom did he ask to wash the car?
    A: He asked him (his son) to wash the car.
  1. Q: Whom is she inviting to her birthday party next week?
    A: She is inviting all of them (her friends).

KEEP IN MIND!

  • “Whom?” is less and less common because it is formal.
  • “Who?” is more common since it is more natural in conversation and in writing.

Examples:

(formal) Whom did you come to the party with?
(common) Who did you come to the party with?

(formal) To whom will this letter be sent?
(common) Who will you send the letter to?

(formal) From whom is the package you received?
(common) Who sent you the package?