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When to use whom?

BingMag Explains when to use whom

"Whom" is used as the object of a verb or preposition in a sentence. It is used when referring to the object of an action or when asking about the object of a verb or preposition.

For example:

1. "To whom did you give the book?" (object of the verb "give")

2. "Whom are you going to invite to the party?" (object of the verb "invite")

3. "With whom are you going to the concert?" (object of the preposition "with")

In these examples, "whom" is used because it is the object of the verb or preposition, and it is referring to the person who is receiving the action or being asked about.

The use of "whom" is often a source of confusion for many English speakers, as it is considered more formal and less commonly used in everyday conversation. However, understanding when to use "whom" can greatly enhance your writing and speaking skills, particularly in more formal or professional contexts.

To determine when to use "whom," it is essential to understand the difference between "who" and "whom" and their respective roles in a sentence. "Who" is used as a subject pronoun, while "whom" is used as an object pronoun. In simpler terms, "who" is used when referring to the subject of a sentence, and "whom" is used when referring to the object of a verb or preposition.

To identify whether "who" or "whom" should be used, you can ask yourself two questions:

1. Is the pronoun acting as the subject of the sentence?

2. Is the pronoun acting as the object of a verb or preposition?

If the pronoun is the subject of the sentence, you should use "who." For example:

- Who is going to the party tonight?

- Who ate the last slice of cake?

In these examples, "who" is the subject of the sentences, as it is performing the action of going to the party and eating the cake.

On the other hand, if the pronoun is the object of a verb or preposition, you should use "whom." For example:

- To whom did you give the book?

- Whom did she invite to the wedding?

In these examples, "whom" is the object of the verbs "give" and "invite." It is important to note that in more informal contexts, many people use "who" instead of "whom" as the object pronoun, which is generally accepted in modern English. However, in formal writing or when aiming for grammatical accuracy, using "whom" is preferred.

Additionally, "whom" is commonly used after prepositions such as "to," "for," "with," "by," and "from." For example:

- To whom are you speaking?

- For whom is this gift?

In these examples, "whom" follows the prepositions "to" and "for" as the object of the preposition.

It is worth mentioning that the use of "whom" is becoming less common in contemporary English, and many native speakers tend to use "who" in both subject and object positions. While this may be acceptable in informal contexts, it is important to be aware of the correct usage of "whom" in more formal or professional settings.

In conclusion, "whom" is used as an object pronoun when referring to the object of a verb or preposition. It is important to consider the context and formality of your writing or speaking to determine whether to use "who" or "whom." While the use of "whom" is declining in everyday conversation, understanding its correct usage can greatly enhance your language skills and demonstrate a higher level of grammatical accuracy.

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