Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Whom vs. Who

I've been learning a lot of English lately. Granted, I grew up speaking this language, but I never really paid much attention in grammar class. So, all my life, I've kind of wondered about certain words, which is pretty ridiculous for a college graduate. Now that I'm having people edit my writing, I'm learning all kinds of things! My eyes glaze over when they start throwing around rules with words like "subjunctive clause," "gerund," and "object of a preposition." So I look for easy shortcuts to remember this stuff.

Here is one that confuses a lot of people. When do you use "whom" and when do you use "who"? Here is the easy way to get it right. If you can answer the question with the word "him," then use "whom." If you can answer the question with the word "he," then use "who."

"_____ did you go to the store with?" "I went to the store with HIM." So, you would use "whom." (The proper way to phrase this question is "With whom did you go to the store," but it sounds kind of snooty to most people, so they don't. But if you remember the him/he thing, you'll get it right, even if you put the "with" in the wrong place.)

"_____ went to the store?" "HE went to the store." So, you would use "who."

The rule has to do with being the object of a preposition, but my mind can never figure that out in a pinch. Just stick with the him/he thing and you'll always get it right.

1 comment:

Boni said...

Thanks! Now can you help me tackle it's and its?