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Who Knows When to use Whom?

July 21, 2011

As professional communicators, it’s only right to expect the correct usage of the language from PRs.

Unfortunately though, English is such a… err… “complex” language that even the most experienced writers can get confused by the correct way to use who or whom.

In fact, there’s an easy way to tell when you should use who or whom in a sentence. If we had only been taught this in school.

Consider the following sentence:

Who do you consider the best composer?

Should it be who or whom?

Figure it out by turning the sentence around and replacing the who or whom with he or him. If he is wrong, so is who. If him is wrong, so is whom.

Do you consider him the best composer?
Do you consider he the best composer?

Since him is correct, use whom.

Whom do you consider the best composer?

Here’s another example:

It was Corelli, you’ll find, who composed that piece.

Turning the sentence around, which is correct?

He composed that piece.
Him composed that piece.

Since he is correct, use who in the sentence.

This article appeared on Impertinent Remarks.

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