use of whom


Whom am I speaking with; sounds bossy and clumsy.


What is the correct use

asked Mar 02 '11 at 04:39 rob ohara New member

3 answers


With whom am I speaking?

link comment answered Mar 02 '11 at 12:20 Trish New member

Trish's response is correct. I figured I would expand on the rules of usage, though. :)


Whether you use "who" or "whom" depends on where in the sentence the pronoun is-- that is, whether it's the subject or object of the sentence.


"Who": subjective case.

"Whom": objective case.


In the sentence, "I called him on the phone," the subject (thing that does the action) is I, and the object (thing that the action is done to) is him. In the sentence you provided, the subject is I and the object is whom.


"To whom should I speak?" (pronoun is object)

"Who is there?" (pronoun is subject)


There's a very quick rule for figuring out which pronoun case to use. If you could insert he instead of who/m, it's subjective case; if you could use him, it's objective case.


"To whom should I speak?"= "Should I speak to him?" (pronoun is object)

"Who is there?"= "He is there." (pronoun is subject)


Using "whom" in spoken language does sound overly formal these days, though, so it's largely used in writing. Part of the formality is that if you use "whom," you should also follow the old rule that prepositions (with, in your example) shouldn't be placed at the very ends of sentences. That's why the formal (and technically correct) sentence is arranged as, "With whom am I speaking," instead of, "Whom am I speaking with."


tl;dr: "Who" is a subject, frequently used in informal language. "Whom" is an object, almost exclusively used in written language today. If you observe formal pronoun usage, you must also observe formal preposition usage.

link edited Mar 02 '11 at 20:02 Collane Ramsey Expert

Collane -- you rock! Thanks for the great input. Wendy Nan ReesMar 03 '11 at 17:39

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here is a fun link, whether you already understand the distinction between "who" and "whom" or not! after starting the e-lesson, the topic is discussed on page 5, but I would start from the beginning:

link comment answered Jan 10 '13 at 19:55 esteban jonatan New member

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