Difference between Who and Whom | Who vs Whom

How many times have you been confused about the usage of the words ‘who’ and ‘whom’? Most of the time, isn’t it? So, how do you to make sure that whenever you are using these words, you are using them correctly? Once you go through this article thoroughly, you will understand when and where to use the words ‘who’ and ‘whom’ appropriately.

There are words in the English Language that can be used interchangeably without changing the context of the sentence, but sometimes this interchanging of words changes the entire meaning as well as the tone of the sentence. So to avoid such mistakes, one must know the meanings of the words they are using. The following points will explain d the difference between the commonly used words ‘who’ and ‘whom’.

Table Summarising the Difference between Who and Whom

Who Whom
Meaning The word ‘who’ is used to refer to/denote the subject in a sentence. The word ‘whom’ is used to refer to the object of a verb or preposition.
Usage It is used as a Pronoun. It is used as a Pronoun.
Example Who are you talking to? To whom did you give the keys?

If you look from the grammatical point of view, you’ll understand the difference between the words ‘who’ and ‘whom’ – it depends on the subject and object forms of the noun. There are times when one can use ‘whom’ instead of ‘who’, but that won’t be necessarily correct. With the help of this article, students will understand how they can use these words without making any mistakes. The following points will help you understand better and clear all the confusions you have.

The Difference between Who and Whom – Meanings

The simple difference between the words ‘who’ and ‘whom’ is that the former can only be used with or as the subject of any sentence, for example, ‘Anna goes to school.’ So the word ‘who’ can be used, and the sentence can be reframed as an interrogative one, i.e., ‘Who goes to school?’ The answer to this question – ‘Anna’, is the subject of the sentence.

In comparison, the word ‘whom’ is used with or as an object of a verb or preposition in the sentence, for example, ‘Anna saw him on the train.’ So when you use ‘whom’ in the sentence, it becomes ‘Anna saw whom on the train?’ The answer to this question – ‘him’ is an object of the verb ‘saw’. The explanation will be much clearer when students solve worksheets related to ‘who’ and ‘whom’. The following section on examples will help students understand the difference between ‘who’ and ‘whom’ better.

Examples of Who and Whom

The following examples will ensure students understand the terms ‘who’ and ‘whom’:

Who – Do you know who stole the necklace? (pronoun)

Whom – That is J.K.Rowling, whom I met on the subway the other day. (pronoun)

Who and Whom – Conclusion

The words ‘who’ and ‘whom’ have entirely different meanings as the former is related to the subject of the sentence while the latter with the object of the verb/preposition in a sentence. When students are using these words, they have to understand the meaning of the context before using them. The BYJU’S website also offers various articles on many such ‘Difference Between’ two words that students often find confusing.


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