Who or Whom? What’s the difference?
The first step to understanding whether to use who or whom is to know the difference between subjects and objects.
In short, subjects do an action such as the following examples.
- She owns a cat.
- He works in a bank.
- They like holidays abroad.
Objects have an action done to them:
- The children ran to him.
- The cashier handed the change to her.
- They queued behind us.
Who or Whom?
The form who is a subject pronoun like he, she, and we, as in the examples above. Who is used to ask which person does an action.
- Who broke the glass?
- Who left school early?
- Who last fed the goldfish?
The form whom is an object pronoun like him, her and us. Whom is used to ask which person or thing had an action done to them.
- Whom did she call regarding the meeting?
- Whom did they interview?
- Whom did he see at the party?
Let’s test your knowledge of it now.
Try replacing the word with either he or him to see which sounds better. He would be the subject like who, while him would be the object like whom.
For example, for the following sentence: Who / whom should I hire for the position?
Rearrange the sentence so that that you can use either him or he, i.e. ‘I should hire him’ or ‘I should hire he.’
The pronoun ‘him’ is the correct choice. Therefore you should choose the form ‘whom’ for the original sentence, i.e. ‘Whom should I hire for the position?’