Anytime I can work an OutKast reference into a ChanteSez, it’s a good day. And yes, I know that the song title is actually “Hootie Hoo.” But that’s beside the point … kind of like asking which is the better group: OutKast or A Tribe Called Quest.
(Leave me a comment if you can call it. I couldn’t when my cousin put the question on Facebook.)
So, on to today’s lesson. What’s the difference between “who” and “whom”? To state the obvious, the letter “m.” And that’s the key to remembering when to use these pronouns.
Replace the who/whom with the word “him.” Notice that both “whom” and “him” end with the letter “m.” If “him” fits, use “whom.”
So remember: Him = whom.
Here’s the tip in action. You’ll have to rephrase the sentence in your mind for this tip to work, but it’s easy.
For whom the bell tolls.
- Rephrase: Who does the bell toll for? It tolls for “him,” so “whom” is correct.
To who should I give the ball?
- Rephrase: Should I give the ball to “him”? Yes, so “whom” is the word to use here, not “who” as shown incorrectly above.
He said the woman with whom he traveled was a relative.
- Rephrase: He said he traveled with her, a relative. Since “her” is the feminine pronoun sibling of “him,” “whom” is correct here.