Quick quiz: Should you use ‘who’ or ‘whom’?

It’s as simple as whether the pronoun is a subject or an object, but certain sentence structures can lead to confusion. Here are five helpful examples.


In standard English, who is used as a subject or a predicate nominative. Whom is used as an object (direct, indirect, object of preposition, etc.).

Compounds, such as whoever and whomever, follow these same rules. Choose the correct form to fill the blank in each sentence.

1. ______ did you choose to serve on your committee?

a) Who
b) Whom

2. Give the found money to ______ needs it.

a) whomever
b) whoever

3. The new department head ______ we met yesterday has already resigned.

a) whom
b) who

4. That man in the ball cap is, I believe, the one ______ took my purse.

a) whom
b) who

5. Anyone ______ has paid his dues may vote in the club’s election.

a) who
b) whom

Answers and explanations

1. Whom did you choose to serve on your committee?
b) Whom

You is the subject of the verb did choose. Whom is the direct object of the verb.

2. Give the found money to whoever needs it.
b) whoever

This is a bit tricky because whoever follows the prepositionto. However, the whole subordinate clause whoever needs it is the object of the preposition to; thus whoever becomes the subject in that clause.

3. The new department head whom we met yesterday has already resigned.
a) whom

Whom is the direct object of the verb met in the subordinate clause, whom we met.

4. That man in the ball cap is, I believe, the one who took my purse.
b) who

Who is the subject of the subordinate clause, who took my purse.

5. Anyone who has has paid his dues may vote in the club’s election.
a) who

Who is the subject of the subordinate clause, who has paid his dues.

A version of this post first appeared on Daily Writing Tips.

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