Ever been writing an email or speaking and got stuck on whether to use 'who' or 'whom'? You're not the only one. Many people find these words confusing and might guess or avoid using them.

Don't worry! This blog will simplify 'who' vs 'whom', showing you easy rules, examples, and a quick trick to remember the who vs whom difference. With our guide and some who vs whom practice exercises, you'll soon use these words correctly in your daily conversations. Let's start!

Understanding the Basics: Who vs Whom?

Let's clarify one thing first. 'Who' and 'whom' are not interchangeable, even though many may use them that way. They have their own grammatical identities.

'Who' is a subject pronoun, like 'he', 'she' and 'I'. It refers to the person performing an action. For example, "Who ate the last piece of cake?"

On the other hand, 'whom', just like 'him', 'her', and 'us', is an object pronoun. It refers to the person on the receiving end of an action. For instance, "Whom did you invite to your birthday party?"

Here's a quick summary:

  • Use 'who' when referring to the doer of an action.

  • Use 'whom' when referring to the receiver of an action.

Why is it Important to Know When to Use Who or Whom?

Using 'who' and 'whom' correctly can really improve your English, especially at work. It shows you know your grammar well and makes a good impression on coworkers or bosses. These small details can even help your career grow a lot.

In personal situations too, using proper grammar could make you sound more confident and articulate. Want to know more about how English fluency can enhance your career prospects? Have a look at this blog post here.

Who vs Whom: What’s the Rule?

Understanding the who vs whom difference can be difficult, especially for non-native speakers of English. However, knowing this grammatical rule can improve your spoken English significantly.

'Who' is a subjective pronoun, used in place of the subject in a sentence. It's like 'he', 'she', or 'we'. For example, "Who is going to the market?"

'Whom' is an objective pronoun, used in place of the object. It's similar to 'him', 'her', or 'us'. For instance, "Whom did you give the ticket to?"

Pronoun Type

Example Pronouns

Usage in Sentence



He, She, They

Used as Subject

Who is reading?


Him, Her, Us

Used as Object

With whom are you going?

Making it Simple: The Who Vs Whom Trick

The trick to remember the who vs whom usage lies in an easy swap method that you can apply while forming sentences.

  • If your sentence makes sense with a subjective pronoun (he/she/they), use 'who'.

  • If it works with an objective pronoun (him/her/them), use 'whom'.

Let's break it down:

  1. Write your sentence with a blank where 'who' or 'whom' should be.

  2. Try filling in that blank with ‘he’ or ‘him’.

  3. If ‘he’ sounds correct, use ‘who’. If ‘him’ sounds better, use ‘whom’.

For instance:

  • ____(1)____ did you invite?

  • I invited ____(2)____. (him or he?)

  • I invited him. – Correct.

  • So, the correct sentence is: 'Whom did you invite?'

There you go! The who vs whom trick is simplified for easy practice!

Practical Exercises: Who vs Whom Practice

Ready to test your understanding of who vs whom difference? Try these exercises!

  1. ___(Who/Whom) did you give the book to?

  2. ___(Who/Whom) wrote this novel?

  3. To ___(Who/Whom) should we send these documents?

Here are the answers:

  1. Whom - The book (object) is receiving the action (give).

  2. Who - The subject is performing the action (wrote).

  3. Whom - The documents (object) are receiving the action (send).

Dealing with Exceptions: When Rules Don’t Apply

In our endeavor to master the "who vs. whom" usage, it's essential to note there are times when rules may not apply. Language is fluid, and sometimes, it defies set structures—especially in spoken English.

For instance, even though "whom" is correct following prepositions (like "to," "from," or "about"), colloquial conversation might often ignore this rule. So while you'd learn to say, "To whom was the letter written?" in a formal setting, you're more likely to hear someone ask, "Who was the letter written to?" in casual speech.

Another exception occurs in questions ending with a verb. The standard rule would suggest using "whom," as in, "Whom are you referring to?" However, many native speakers might instead ask, "Who are you referring to?"

Remember, it's all about striking a balance between correctness and context.

Continuing Your Learning Journey: How can Clapingo Assist?

At Clapingo, we know learning the difference between 'who' and 'whom' can be hard for those not native to English. But we've got your back! Our native English-speaking tutors are ready to make the concept clear with 'who vs whom' examples and exercises.

Yet, getting English right isn't just about 'who' and 'whom.' You need to know vocabulary, pronunciation, sentence structure, and more. That's why we invite you to keep learning with us, through our resources and personalized coaching.

We suggest reading more about topics like pronunciation stress or increasing your vocabulary with fun activities. Every step you take is one more toward being fluent in English!

To Sum Up

Understanding the difference between 'who' and 'whom' is important for English learners. Remember, use 'who' when you're referring to the subject of a clause and 'whom' for the object. For instance, "Who wrote this book?" versus "To whom was the book gifted?".

The trick lies in replacing 'who' or 'whom' with he/she or him/her respectively. If he/she fits, use who; if him/her fits, it's whom.

It might seem daunting at first, but regular practice makes perfect. With Clapingo’s one-on-one coaching sessions, you can practice and perfect your usage of 'who' and 'whom'. Remember, knowing the who vs whom difference is a small step towards becoming confident and fluent English speakers. Keep practising and keep learning!


1. What is the difference between 'who' and 'whom'?

The simplest tip to remember is that 'who' refers to the subject of a sentence who performs an action, whereas 'whom' refers to the object that receives an action. For example, "Who wrote this book?" versus "Whom did you give the book to?"

2. Are there specific rules when forming who vs whom questions?

When forming a question, if you're referring to the person doing an action, use 'who'. If you're referring to someone receiving an action or something being done for/to them, use 'whom'. For instance, "Who made the chai?" versus "Whom was the chai made by?"

3. How important is it to use ‘who’ and ‘whom’ correctly?

While it might seem daunting at first, correct who vs whom usage can significantly enhance your English communication skills. In professional settings - interviews, presentations or meetings – it adds polish to your language and makes a positive impression.