Grammar Chaos: Whodunit? Knowing Who from Whom

Posted on Aug 23, 2017


Is it who, or is it whom? We often interchange these two without anyone noticing. How do we know which to use?

Who or Whom, Alumnus, Alumna, Alumnae

When who is used in a sentence, it replaces the subject of the sentence. Here are some examples:

  1. Who stole the cookie from the jar?

  2. Who baked those cookies?


When whom is used, it replaces the object of a preposition or a verb. Here are some examples:

  1. Whom were you speaking on the phone with?

  2. To whom are these letters addressed?


If you notice, it seems like who works for all these sentences just fine. That’s because who is popular as the catch-all pronoun. As a writer, however, it is important to adhere to the rules of grammar.


Don’t worry if you’re still confused at this point. Many people really find it hard to grasp the differences. To explain further, let’s try answering the examples using pronouns.


Q: Who stole the cookie from the jar?

A: He stole the cookie from the cookie jar.

Q: Who baked those cookies?

A: She baked those cookies.

Q: Whom were you speaking on the phone with?

A: I was speaking with him on the phone.

Q: To whom are these letters addressed?

A: The letters are addressed to her.


What did you notice? For the first two sentences, the answers are he and she, which are subject pronouns. For the last two sentences, the answers are him and her, which are object pronouns. Easy, right? So the next time you have difficulty in choosing which one to use, try answering the question first.


If you’re still confused, here’s a simple way to remember things. If the answer to the question is a subject, it’s who. If the answer is an object, it’s whom.


Still not confident enough? Why not have your copy checked by a professional proofreader? 1-Hour Proofreading offers fast and reliable proofreading and copyediting services at a fraction of the cost. Go to our main site to find out more!


Got a grammar problem? Shoot us a message, and we may be able to help! Or go through our blog and see if we’ve already answered your query. Stay tuned for more Grammar Chaos!




Disclaimer: Image is not ours. Credit to the owner.

About 1-Hour Proofreading
1-Hour Proofreading is a growing start-up offering fast and efficient editing services at a reasonable price, with the assurance that the document is publication-ready the soonest you need it. Its team of highly competent professional editors is committed to helping those in need of quality editing services while facing tough deadlines.


Visit for more details.
Follow us:              

Back to Grammary


© 2016, 1-Hour Proofreading Ssl_seal_1